It's battle royal between Oppenheimer and Barbie at the box office this week, but we think the latter will surely win the cake. The reason? The film has proved to be way smarter than you thought. Thanks to director Greta Gerwig, the film touches upon feminism and patriarchy in a smart, witty way; something you might not really expect.
It takes almost no time to be drawn into the world of Barbie, where pink is the new black and all female dolls are called Barbie and male dolls are named Ken. Every day is just like the other, pink and perfect. After all, unlike the world we live in, it’s a matriarchal world.
Margot Robbie plays the stereotypical Barbie whose life turns upside down when she starts feeling like humans. She and Ken (played by the brilliant Ryan Gosling) set out on an adventure into the real world to get to the bottom of the mystery. During their journey they get a reality check and experience existential crisis. She realises what it’s like to be a woman in the real world while Ken gets a master class in patriarchy. But just like in all happy endings, life comes a full circle for her as she, thanks to the other Barbies and their real-world owners (America Ferrera and Ariana Greenblatt), reconnect with her identity.
Give it up for Greta Gerwig, Margot Robbie, and the writing
The film has its heart in the right place and director Greta Gerwig is the main reason why. You marvel at how effortlessly she uses Barbie to drive home the issues of capitalism, consumerism, patriarchy, and beauty. The way she has made Barbie a living being; a confident and charismatic one at that, leaves a lasting impression. A standout scene is where Robbie realises that Barbie made many girls second-guess themselves, and feels sad because she just couldn’t have known. Everything that she represents, the path that she follows, was chosen—not by women, but by men (one of the many problems that the movie touches upon). You feel for her when she struggles to accept that there are people in the real world who hate her. The tears rolling down her eyes bring out the honesty in her soul, which truly didn't want to hurt anyone's feelings.
Gerwig shatters every stereotype that Barbie set in our minds, to show that she was more than the idea and the reason for which she was made.
Ryan Gosling is an absolute rockstar
If Gosling doesn't win awards or Oscar nomination for his outstanding performance, a lot of people will be upset. The film reaches a peak when the story is told through the eyes of Ken, the most ignored Barbie character. Showing what he was, what he becomes, and rediscovering himself is an example of brilliant writing and character building. Even with the muscles and the abs, Ken is a man with a heart that only has one purpose—to beat for Barbie. Like Barbie he, too, gets a taste of reality—one where patriarchy is prominent and men think they are the centre of the universe. Watching him take these 'learnings' (what one would rightly call toxicity) and turn Barbieworld into his own Kenworld with his Kenergy is a wonderful trajectory to witness.
The music is an absolute vibe and Ryan Gosling's singing is the cherry on this pink and candy-coloured cake. That segment will leave you in splits. The rest of the songs, which include Dua Lipa’s Dance the Night, is cute. The '90s generation will be happy to know that the iconic Barbie Girl song by Aqua plays in the end credits.