To acquire wisdom, one must observe

‘Barbie’ causes tears of laughter and slight sorrow

The Barbie doll was invented in 1959. Since then, generations of children have played with the dolls. They have been an expression of their imaginations and have taught young girls that they can be anything they want. From doctor to astronaut to mermaid and everything in between. Some people may have come to see Barbie dolls as ditzy and unrealistic. Not to mention, her proportions do not portray an accurate young woman. If you listen closely to the lyrics of the famous song “Barbie Girl” by Aqua, you can see that it is commentary on the bimbo-esque reputation of Barbies. However, many people have held onto the glory of Barbie. Now, there is a film that will bring everyone over to the side of Barbie empowerment. “Barbie” has become the hottest film of the summer, and for good reason. It tells a fun story of the world’s most famous doll while combining real-world views of the struggles of imperfections and living under a patriarchal society. This film is truly one-of-a-kind and can leave any audience member looking at their dolls, and the world, differently.

Barbie (Margot Robbie) is living her best life in her magical Barbieland. She has all of her Barbie friends, has the most fashionable clothes, lives in her fabulous dreamhouse, and she magically floats to her car. She is also the object of Ken’s (Ryan Gosling) affections. However, one day, everything becomes a little off. Barbie’s heels touch the ground, she has thoughts of death, and her legs start to have cellulite. This is not the makings of a Barbie. She is forced to talk to Weird Barbie (Kate McKinnon), who tells her to go to the real world and find the truth. So she sets off, with Ken happily by her side. The real world is nothing like Barbieland. Barbie starts to feel scared and upset at the real world. Even so, she is a doll with a mission, and nothing will stop her. Along the way, she finds a friend in Gloria (America Ferrara), a stressed out mother who teaches her about the real world. Barbie and Ken both have to learn about life struggles and find themselves. Will a Barbie doll learn the true meaning of humanity?

This was a film with many Barbies, and all of the actresses captured the perfect Barbie energy. Of course, the main Barbie was the stand-out. Robbie gave the proper energy of a doll brought to life. She was able to have a ditzy persona while still portraying a lot of depth and emotions. As the Barbie character unraveled, Robbie’s acting abilities shined and the deep humanity was shown. Then there were also the other Barbies. While they did not have the deep emotional moments that the main barbie had, they were still entertaining to watch. With actresses like Issa Rae, Emma Mackey, Alexandra Shipp, Nicola Coughlan, and more as the Barbies, this film had a lot of Barbie power. They were all bright and energetic, but still confident. It was the group of Barbies that made the Barbieland special. Of course, you can’t have Barbie and Ken without the “and Ken.” Gosling was absolutely the comedic star of the film. Every other line he said made me chuckle. His character was one-of-a-kind and he commanded every scene that he was in. It was the perfect supporting character, and Gosling was the perfect choice to play the part. The other Kens, like Simu Liu, Ncuti Gatwa, Scott Evans, and Kingsley-Ben Adir, were also talented actors who displayed the proper himbo energy for a Ken. They were all distinct, yet were all quintessentially Ken. Another favorite performance of mine was Ferrara as Gloria. Her part was less showy than most of the other parts, but it still mattered. Ferrara played the character that every woman could relate to, and her monologue about being a woman was one of the most memorable moments. It can be hard playing a part as subtle as Ferarra’s when competing with characters like Barbie and Ken, but Ferrar’s natural energy made Gloria a character that people still talked about. This is a film where every character was important, and every actor was ready to give the performance of a lifetime as they knew all eyes would be on them.

I’ve wanted to see this film ever since I saw it was written by Greta Gerwig and Noah Baumbach. This partnership has always been a win in my book. While this film was different from their usual stories, it still captured their magic. They are known for creating films about strong independent women who go on a journey of self-discovery. At its core, that was Barbie’s story. While no one has gone through the experience of being a doll going from a literal Barbieland to the human world, the metaphorical journey is something that anyone can connect to. As we get older, we have to deal with the imperfections of life and figure out what makes us happy. Growing up may not always feel good, but it is necessary. That was the moral of this film. I have to single out Gerwig’s directing abilities, as that is what made the film so captivating. Her previous films were “Lady Bird’ and “Little Women”. These films take place in different eras with different types of characters, but they have confident female characters fighting through adversity. That is why Gerwig was the right choice for this film. With the wrong director, this film could have been too fantastical or cheesy. This film went through many rewrites and shopping around before it ended up in Gerwig’s, and Baumbach’s, hand. She was able to figure out how to show this story in a way that captures audience’s hearts, has relatability, while also tugging at the nostalgia strings so that there is no doubt that this is Barbie.

The film is put over the top by displaying the physical comparisons between Barbie Barbieland and the real world. The set and costume designers made the Barbieland exactly like how one may picture it. Everything looks absolutely fabulous in Barbieland, and that can not be denied. The real world looks extraordinarily plain in comparison, and that was definitely the goal. However, what I liked about this film is that it was offering a more nuanced take than Barbieland is good and the real world is bad. This film was displaying the importance of equality and that everyone should be free to be themselves. The movie teaches audiences that they should not be afraid to share ideas and emotions. Barbie Land can learn a lot from the real world and vice versa. To be clear, there is no doubt that “Barbie” is a comedy. It is jam-packed with hilarious jokes and humorous moments. From Barbie and Ken rollerblading in Venice Beach to the early goofy behavior of Barbies to everything about Ken and Weird Barbie, there will be parts of the film where you just can not stop laughing. However, what separates this film from other comedies are the important messages embedded inside. As the film goes through the last act, you will be captivated and perhaps emotionally drained by Barbie’s journey. The best part is that the comedy and drama merge together. You will not get much whiplash from the tonal change, it blends seamlessly. This whole film is multifaceted, and that is what makes it captivating.

Seeing the success of this “Barbie,” producers are making other films based on the story of toys. There has already been word that Lily Collins is starring in a Polly Pocket movie. There also talks of films about Hot Wheels and whatever else Mattel sells. However, these cash-grab films defeat the reason why this film was so good. It was authentic and did not try to sugarcoat anything. Barbie has been a large part of society for decades, so it is only natural that she could give an accurate perspective of the powers that control society and the problems it contains. Mattel can try to make other films to capitalize on the success of “Barbie”, but those films will never have this film’s impactful message. It is meant to be a stand alone that uses beloved figures and real world influences. While some people believe that they are too good for this film and that the film is too “woke,” anyone can find something important to get out of this film. It is simply a story about fighting for your beliefs and accepting yourself. If you want to incorporate those ideas into your daily life, or you want to see how your favorite dolls feel about the world you live in, watch “Barbie” today.

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