LONDON – In the live action film Barbie, directed by Greta Gerwig, the iconic doll undergoes a remarkable transformation, emerging as a powerful individual.
Margot Robbie takes center stage as ‘Stereotypical Barbie,’ embodying every inch of confidence and charisma that the doll represents.
The plot follows the emotional journey of Barbie as she grapples with the idealized matriarchy of her hometown ‘Barbieland’ being placed under threat.
The cast features a variety of celebrities, including pop singer Dua Lipa, former wrestler John Cena and even a majority of the cast from the comedy show ‘’Sex Education.’’
Gerwig gives the audience a comedic yet simplified take on the patriarchy while highlighting the ways women can subscribe to the system.
Will Ferrell, who plays the CEO of Mattel – Barbie’s manufacturing company – acts as a symbol of this patriarchy with his all-male board opposing the matriarchal foundations of Barbieland.
America Ferrera’s powerful speech stands out as a memorable moment as she, as Gloria, delves into the complexities and burdens of motherhood under the pressures of everyday life.
The commercial style scenes paired with the bright visuals emphasize the vivid Barbie tone.
Meme-worthy moments, coupled with the clever narration, also contribute to a breaking-the-fourth-wall feel.
Even the poor, colorful wigs on characters (namely Lipa and Ryan Gosling) cleverly highlight the artificiality of Barbieland.
But the plot feels rushed and random scenes almost make the film feel like a poor musical.
Gosling provides a comedic twist in his portrayal of Ken – Barbie’s toy boy accessory – by portraying his character as angsty and love-stricken.
But other characters feel undeveloped at the expense of Barbie and Ken’s complex depiction.
The movie’s soundtrack makes up for this by being nothing short of iconic. The music effortlessly captures the film’s vibe and enhances each scene by flawlessly transitioning from happy to melancholic moments.
Billie Eilish’s heartfelt ballad, “What Was I Made For,” to the catchy and nostalgic “Barbie World” encapsulate the film’s emotional journey.
Gerwig illustrates Barbie’s wide appeal through exploring the origins of the doll and how Barbie has transformed over time to embrace diversity.
Audiences of all ages can appreciate the emotional intensity of the film combined with its bubblegum pop aesthetic.
The matriarchy Gerwig creates within Barbieland cleverly parodies the patriarchy within the real world to criticize our complacency under systemic chains.
The filmconveys a powerful message about breaking free from societal norms and embracing individuality.
Barbie has truly evolved into a complex and inspiring character, leaving audiences with a renewed appreciation for the timeless icon.
Anjola Fashawe is a Senior Reporter with Youth Journalism International. She wrote this review.
Nicole Luna is a Senior Reporter and Senior Illustrator with Youth Journalism International. She took the photographs.