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This piece was written during the 2023 WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes. Without the labour of the writers and actors currently on strike, the movie/series/feature being covered here wouldn't exist.

"Barbie is hilarious and audacious, but it also wears its heart on its sleeve. Believe the hype because it lives up to it, and more."

Barbie is quite possibly the most famous toy of all time. Greta Gerwig is one of the greatest writer directors currently working. So what do you get when the latter makes a film about the former? Perfection wrapped up in a bold pink box. Barbie is hilarious and audacious, but it also wears its heart on its sleeve. Believe the hype because it lives up to it, and more.

Barbie (Margot Robbie) lives in Barbieland - a dream world doused in pink thanks to some super-slick production design - where roles are reversed compared to the real world. All of the Barbies hold the important jobs in society, there's President Barbie (Issa Rae), physicist Barbie (Emma Mackey), Doctor Barbie (Hari Nef) and even the Supreme Court is filled full of Barbies. The Kens, however, exist purely for their respective Barbie’s. Everything is perfect; waking up bright and fresh, having days at the beach and super blow out parties in the evening fit with a bespoke song and slick choreography. That is until one day things aren’t quite right. Barbie’s shower is cold, her breakfast is burnt, she even falls off her roof - where she would usually float down gracefully. After speaking to weird Barbie (Kate McKinnon) she learns she can put things back to normal by going to the real world and finding the child who is playing with her and to set things straight.


Despite the marketing team working in overdrive Barbie is way more than the advertised fun time at the movies. Gerwig has crafted a universally relatable story that confronts our relationship with this fleeting experience we call life. Barbie’s exploration of gender roles through Barbie and Ken is pin point accurate as well. That being said it also still is a rip roaring time at the pictures, it’s goofy and laugh-a-minute just as much as it’s serious. Barbie is famed for its versatility, and it’s incredible just how versatile this film is.

Barbie is also marvellously meta. It takes aim at the very institution it’s representing, both in a celebratory way and sometimes not so much. Some wonderfully specific pop culture references are thrown in for good measure and it’s all tied up through Helen Mirren who acts as Narrator throughout.


All of the roles in Barbie are exquisitely cast. Margot Robbie is the natural North Star for the Barbies. The more her Barbie is exposed to humanity the more she deviates from idealistic perfection. It’s as if we literally see her mold from 2D into 3D over the course of the film, and Robbie hangs on every emotion in every moment (yes, the single tear in context was almost breathtaking!). To add to an already building chorus of praise of Ryan Gosling, his turn as Ken is sublime. He’s joked in interviews that it was the role he was born to play, but it couldn’t be more true. His commitment to the weirdest, wackiest, layered portrayal of this character is nothing short of genius.

It’s America Fererra though that Greta Gerwig bestows the film's most defining moment to. A captivating burst of soul-bearing truth that is sure to resonate with every single woman who watches Barbie, and rightfully so as it wouldn’t be a Greta Gerwig film if it didn’t unapologetically celebrate the power of womanhood.

Greta Gerwig has made it clear during the promotion for Barbie that it is for everyone. This couldn’t be more true. All anyone is trying to do in this world is find a place for themselves; some kind of purpose to latch onto. Barbie serves as a reminder to let loose and have a bit of fun, but most importantly that it’s okay not to have everything figured out because at the end of the day that meaning will come to us when we least expect it.




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