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The Barbie Movie Review: Extravaganza Preaches Outshines Good Show at Times, Still Offers Fodder for Thoughts


The Barbie Movie Review: Extravaganza Preaches Outshines Good Show at Times, Still Offers Fodder for Thoughts

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“Barbie” is a spectacular summer splash from Greta Gerwig, the co-writer and director of the movie. The iconic doll has got an immortal status on the silver screen through dazzling portrayal through both tone and technicality. The on-screen visual feast presents an incredible mix of battle cry and thrilled escape.

Crammed with Details


From start to finish, every micro detailing is treated so well that it is impossible to notice, appreciate and absorb all in one sitting. You may love to dedicate your entire viewing to costume and accessory design. Two-time Oscar winning costume designer Jacqueline Durran has done an impeccable work whereas six-time Oscar nominee Sarah Greenwood has delivered up to critics’ expectations.

Both have added a vibrant touch of colors with crispy and clever thoughts in their respective niche to synchronize with the ever-evolving iconic character. Cinematographer Rodrigo Preito, who is a three-time Oscar nominee, has touched everything with glittering glee.

The movie is not about recreating Barbie’s decades-long journey, embellished with captivating colors, clothes, hairstyles and accessories. Truly speaking, Gerwig & Co have made efforts to enliven the character on the screen with their indomitable and contiguous energy with a knowing twinkle. 

Barbie is funny with several LOL moments sprinkled throughout the movie. All these are infused with the insularity of peaceful, pinky realm and coupled with fish-out-of-water comedy moments and favorite pop culture references with increasing encroachment of the outside world.


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Thanks to clever and global marketing campaigns, you may feel that you have already watched a fair amount of inspiring glimpses of “Barbie”. You already know the basic plot, Barbie (Margot Robbie), the most famous of all Barbies in Barbie Land, faces an existential crisis. She must visit the human world to understand herself and understand her true purpose. Her kind-of-a boyfriend (Ryan Gosling) readies for a ride because Barbie’s acknowledging him is key to his own existence.

Both come face to face with bitter truths and make new friends on their journey towards enlightenment. The collision between bleeding harsh reality with obsessively crafted fantasy remind audiences of the revelations of “The LEGO Movie ” and “The Truman Show” but ol via Gerwig’s cynical fantasy prism.

The movie acknowledges Barbie’s idealistic physical proportions and the real body issues that young girls may face while projecting her as a feminist. There were a series of highly accomplished Barbie dolls, one working as an astronaut (1965), one in NASA’s astronaut corps (1978), a successful “Barbie” celebrates two suited-up women greeting each other among the twinkling stars while Robbie’s earth-bound Barbie salute cheering them a “Yay, Space!” salute.

Barbie’s distributor Warner Bros and Barbie’s manufacturer Mattel have managed to create the kind of appearance to place themselves on the pointed jokes at their expenses. Mattel headquarters in the movie have a roomy, top-floor conference room crowned by men with a heart-shaped lamp hovering over the table. Despite that, Will Ferrell’s CEO keeps on insisting that his company’s “gender-neutral bathrooms up the wazoo” exemplifies diversity. It’s funny but a well-crafted jibe at male chauvinists.


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Margot Robbie, the Barbie star, discovers the right balance and blend between sincerity and satire, making herself an ideal casting choice. It is hard to believe that anyone other than her could have played the role with so much grace. The blonde, blue-eyed beauty becomes Barbie in all aspects. She exudes the kind of resoluteness and optimism that may feel a little bit exaggerated and stretched for our real world.

Later, as Barbie starts understanding the reality, Robbie shows her skin by handling the more layered and intriguing dialogue penned by Getwig and her team and filmmaker Noah Baumbach. From a riveting smile to drops from eyes and everything in between, Robbie discovers the ideal tone and tenacity to carry through the palettes of emotions with her performance. She delivers without a doubt and her presence is a pleasure to movie traffic.

Despite Robbie’s stellar performance, Ryan Gosling steals the show with his believable transformation from a suitor whom Barbie needs to a bragging macho man as he fits himself in the thoughts of how a man should be. Audiences who live in and have ever been to Los Angeles will enjoy a digital tour of the places that become Ryan’s inspirations. Gosling projects his character’s solemnity and also explores his “All New Mickey Mouse Club” musical theatre roots at the same time.

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A couple of exceptions aside, the movie’s enormous ensemble depict a monochromatic concept presenting all women as Barbies and men as Kens. However, there are many standouts that cannot go unnoticed. These include a crazy Kate McKinnon as the “Weird Barbie” who puts Robbie’s character on her path; Alexandra Shipp as a capable and kind Doctor Barbie; Issa Rae as the plain-speaking President Barbie; Simu Liu as Ken who talks trash and torment’s Gosling’s Ken; and America Ferrera as a Mattel employee. And how can we forget Michael Cera as the one Allan who goes on burbling in a crowd of hunky Kens? Unfortunately, everyone else forgets Allan.

Barbie is an ambitious project loaded with exciting moments, excellent performance and extraordinary elements that make a movie a masterpiece. Unfortunately, it stumbles at times. After riding strong on the wave of fresh doses of laughter, the movie feels dragging in the middle while dealing with more serious issues. 

One cannot help but admire how Gerwig has taken a big plunge with strong notions in a season crammed with suffocating blockbusters. However, she has so many up her sleeve that Barbie sometimes stumbles and stops in its propulsive tracks to offer an explanation of itself and keeps on harping on the same string. 

The zippy, satirical take that she carefully and successfully set off the top was a better way of conveying her ideas about the pitfalls of toxic masculinity and privilege and bring the enormous power of female collaboration and confidence to the table.

One character presents a detailed third-act speech about a woman’s challenges and the society’s contradictory stereotype about women. The female audiences may love the movie with a strong feeling of their pain, plights and pleasures are well understood and aptly conveyed, as if Gerwig and her team have experienced every bit of it. 

The dialogues in the movie become a one-to-one conversation with every woman watching it. However, sometimes the most feminist woman in the world gets bored at-length preaching and it kills the otherwise smooth momentum – too clumsy, too repetitive despite insightful thoughts.

Bottom Line

Despite the excessive effort for crowd-pleasing, Babie offers food for thought to carry the conversation forward in a meaningful way. The movie has already achieved many goals with its convincing dialogues with the subtle messages served on your platter.

Summary: The movie Barbie is an effort to present the pink-hued, blue-eyed girl as a feminist. A few interesting jibes at male chauvinism do not go unnoticed. All the aspects of the film, from costume to accessories to settings, are so beautifully done that one needs a few sittings to absorb the details.

Actors in the lead roles steal the show, with great support from the other cast and crew. At times, the preaching feels boring but despite that director Greta Gerwig offers enough fodder for thoughts through her powerful script.