Barbie Review

Beyond the Pink Horizon: A Journey Into a Doll's World Reveals a Vibrant Balance of Power

Mason Moeller

7/24/20232 min read

The new Barbie movie brilliantly transports audiences into an invigorating live-action adventure, brilliantly balancing whimsy, comedy, and thoughtful social commentary. It is a celebration of the iconic doll’s world that not only entertains but also explores the nuances of societal structures. The creative team’s decision to utilize practical effects harkens back to the Technicolor era, encapsulating the fantasy feel of Barbieland and lending a layer of authenticity and visual charm to the film.

As the film unfolds, we are initially presented with a world dominated by women, where men, including Ken and his fellow 'Kens,' live in relative obscurity. But as Ken steps into the real world, he is exposed to a stark contrast, a world where men are favored. It's this paradigm shift that propels Ken to usher in a wave of radical change in Barbieland, shifting it from a matriarchal society to one that echoes the hyperbolic patriarchy of the real world.

The movie's genius lies in its narrative evolution. After presenting both extremes, it guides the audience towards the middle ground, cleverly using humor and charm to underscore the importance of a balanced society. It criticizes both the matriarchy of Barbieland and the hyperbolic patriarchy that Ken attempts to establish, leading to a thoughtful conclusion that resonates with the audience.

This delicate balance between comedy and poignant social commentary sets the film apart. The humor is smart and engaging, gracefully driving home its themes without weighing down the viewers. Its societal discussions aren't overbearing lectures but rather are skillfully woven into the narrative, making the film's deeper themes approachable and relatable.

Ryan Gosling and Margot Robbie turn in stellar performances in Barbie, truly embodying their characters with a level of depth and vibrancy that brings the film to life. Gosling's portrayal of Ken is both heartwarming and humorous, imbuing the character with a unique charm that is undeniably captivating. His musical rendition of Matchbox Twenty's "Push" showcases his versatility, adding a layer of entertainment that is both unexpected and delightful. Meanwhile, Margot Robbie's Barbie is a triumph. She captures the spirit of the iconic doll perfectly, while adding her own touch of intelligence, kindness, and strength, making the character both relatable and aspirational.

However, the film isn't without its shortcomings. A notable weak point is the subplot involving Mattel and it's CEO portrayed by Will Ferrell. These scenes, intended to introduce a sense of antagonism, feel somewhat detached from the main storyline. Rather than enhancing the plot, these scenes seem to disrupt the flow of the narrative, contributing little to the story's progression. They seem more like a forced insertion of conflict, which contrasts sharply with the otherwise fluid storytelling of the rest of the film.

In conclusion, Barbie stands as a triumphant cinematic achievement. It's a live-action adventure that captivates with its vivid practical effects, endearing characters, and an insightful narrative. Its critical commentary on societal norms is balanced by its engaging humor, making it a film that's both entertaining and thought-provoking. This film serves as a reminder that cinema can incite important conversations while delivering an entertaining and enjoyable experience. With its brilliant exploration of balance in societal structures, the Barbie movie is a must-watch for audiences of all ages. It's a captivating journey into Barbieland that's sure to leave a lasting impact.