Due to my life as a working mum, doing a PhD full time, I had zero time to learn anything about this movie before my partner and I snuck away for the Tuesday mid-morning showing of Barbie: The Movie. I knew who was in it and, generally, that it had taken a long time in the Hollywood meat grinder to get made, but I read no reviews or spoilers beforehand. I am so grateful I kept myself innocent of any of the details, which is EXTREMELY hard to do it this day and age.
Greta had me at the doll-smashing tea party. I laughed with and at this movie almost the whole time. Not only was it a visual feast, but it was constantly giving WTF? energy and that was exactly right. I wasn’t a big fan of Barbie as a child, although I recall that I did have the Dream House, but not for very long. I do recall my best friend and I cutting the hair off of ALL of our Barbies and leaving them in a wading pool. We were not that respectful, but as a result, I loved Kate McKinnon’s Weird Barbie. I will not try to explain the movie. It is based on child’s play, so it isn’t completely logical or rational, but I appreciated its mix of real and fantastical. That isn’t to say I agreed with every choice, but nothing is perfect. Except Barbie singing “Closer to Fine” by the Indigo Girls; that was perfect.
I will say that it is the scene on the beach with the Kens’ playing the guitars that made me fall out of my seat. So many of us can relate to this moment; it was hilarious truth-telling. I must admit I was nervous during the Kendom part of the movie. I wanted them to get to the point; not for me, but for the others. Those people I felt needed the message more than me.
Contrary to what most people I have talked to believe, this film was not for children. It was for everyone else. My partner loved the film as well. We both laughed hard. He was slightly concerned that the humor might cover the serious messages, which is a concern. Seen too young, the sarcasm and the irony of the film would go over the heads of children. And the simple-minded. I suggest reading Marc Maron’s take on the film for those people:
“He noted that the film is ‘pretty radical’, even though it ‘shouldn’t be’, especially in its ‘inspired’ comedic takes on masculinity.”
And I would love to quote Randall Park who said this about the film,
“Barbie is this massive blockbuster, and the idea is: Make more movies about toys! No — make more movies by and about women!”
Park told Rolling Stone adding, “It’s Greta Gerwig!”
This is the truth.
-Ashley E. Remer