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Barbie Review: A Silver Screen Sensation Wrapped in Plastic Perfection

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A star-studded plastic fantasia leaps from the playroom to the silver screen in Greta Gerwig’s audacious “Barbie.” Far from a shiny commercial endeavor, the $145 million cinematic splurge defies expectations, painting a multicolored canvas of a modern parable hidden within the seemingly shallow depths of a toy’s world.

The real gem of the movie lies in its unapologetic, and at times acerbic, examination of the cultural and arguably controversial symbolism that Barbie, Mattel’s ever-smiling doll, has embodied over the decades. Gerwig, alongside co-writer Noah Baumbach, proves adept at walking this tonal tightrope, packing the narrative with layers of social commentary while ensuring a jovial undertone.

Barbie review

Set in the pastel perfection of Barbie Land, the movie introduces a cast of Barbies leading a serene existence with their Ken counterparts largely marginalized, a daring subversion of societal norms. Margot Robbie as Barbie and Ryan Gosling as Ken anchor the narrative, their performances striking the right balance of humor and vulnerability. Special mention goes to Gosling, whose portrayal of a Ken grappling with insecurities evokes laughter and empathy, a feat not typically expected from a doll-based movie.

When Barbie experiences an existential crisis and journeys to the real world with Ken, the narrative cleverly juxtaposes Barbie Land’s idyllic existence against the harsh realities of contemporary society. This transformation not only offers a critique of the unrealistic ideals promoted by the Barbie brand but also echoes the sentiment of many young girls in the real world.

However, the film loses momentum in its second half, arguably due to a slight overemphasis on the gender dynamics in both the Barbie world and the real world. While humorous, the transformation of Barbie Land into a man cave feels somewhat forced.

Barbie review

That said, “Barbie” stands apart in its depth and daring. Rather than merely pleasing fans with a recognizable, comforting narrative, Gerwig and Baumbach reimagine the universe, injecting it with a nuanced commentary on societal and gender norms. The execution of this vision, while not without hiccups, is largely impressive.

The style of “Barbie” pays homage to a range of cinematic influences, from “The Wizard of Oz” to “An American in Paris,” and it’s this blend of aesthetics that adds to the movie’s unique charm. The film, almost musical in nature, also showcases Gerwig’s mastery over tone, ensuring the film remains vibrant even in its more contemplative moments.

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Margot Robbie, our Barbie, truly shines, embodying the character with an authenticity that makes this portrayal far more than a mere caricature. From her first tear to the final punchline, Robbie navigates the demands of Gerwig and Baumbach’s script with precision and grace, turning Barbie into a character audiences can connect with.

“Barbie” is not just a children’s movie or a nostalgic trip down memory lane but a thought-provoking examination of cultural norms, cleverly masked in vibrant colors and witty humor. While it may not please everyone with its unflinching commentary and subversive narrative, those willing to embrace its unique blend of artistry and social reflection will find a truly memorable cinematic experience.

RATING: 4.0 out of 5.

Barbie is in theaters everywhere on July 21st.

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1 Response

  1. Killer Grenade says:

    Really loved this Barbie, she’s just like a movie star! I think my niece would absolutley adore her.