Barbie (2023) Movie Review
The inclusion of Barbie in the live-action version was more than just a profit-driven decision. Greta Gerwig, the director of this film, successfully captivated and astonished audiences.
Barbie (2023) not only evokes nostalgia for girls through the various Barbie editions released by Mattel but also mesmerizes the viewers with its stunning visuals, immersing them in the beauty of Barbieland.
Furthermore, the film provides unexpected life lessons for humans, leaving the audience wondering about the possibility of such teachings being real.
If you’re considering watching Barbie (2023) with your partner, it’s advisable to read the synopsis and film reviews to gauge whether it’s a worthwhile experience. Discover the answers on Bumareview.
- Year of Release 2023
- Genres Adventure , Based on Toys , Comedy , Drama , Fantasy , Friendship , Live Action , Musical , Romance , Youth
- Director Greta Gerwig
- Cast ∙ Margot Robbie ∙ Ryan Gosling ∙ America Ferrera ∙ Simu Liu ∙ Issa Rae ∙ Ariana Greenblatt
Barbie (2023) Synopsis
Barbieland is a utopian world inhabited by Barbie dolls created by the real-world company Mattel. In this harmonious realm, Barbies embrace diverse professions, ranging from presidents and journalists to construction workers, showcasing equality regardless of their appearances or skin tones.
Besides Barbie, there are Kens and Allan (Michael Cera), male counterparts of Barbie dolls, living harmoniously and complementing Barbie’s life. However, an unusual event disrupts Barbie’s idyllic life one morning when she wakes up with unexpected physical changes and sensations. Even her once-perfect flying abilities become flawed, leaving her and the other Barbies astonished.
Perplexed, Barbie seeks the counsel of Weird Barbie (Kate McKinnon) to understand the reason behind these imperfections. To her surprise, Weird Barbie explains that the strange occurrences are connected to the emotions and experiences of their real-world owners. Feeling saddened, Barbie’s owner’s emotions influence her in Barbieland.
To revert to her idealized Barbie persona, Barbie must venture into the real world to find her owner. Ken (Ryan Gosling) joins her on this journey, and they embark together to the real world, garnering attention due to their unique appearance.
In the real world, Barbie encounters Sasha (Ariana Greenblatt), whom she believes to be connected to her owner. However, Sasha’s words leave Barbie feeling disheartened. Meanwhile, representatives from Mattel are concerned that Barbie’s presence in the real world might disrupt the balance between the two worlds.
As Barbie’s curiosity about her imperfections grows, she escapes from Mattel and reunites with Sasha and her mother Gloria (America Ferrera), a Mattel employee who aids Barbie. Together, they seek refuge in Barbieland, but Ken’s influence transforms the once-harmonious place into Ken World, imposing patriarchal practices and toxic masculinity from the real world.
As Barbieland faces a crisis, Barbie must decide whether to remain silent or take a stand to reclaim her perfect world.
(Note: The original passage provided contains numerous characters and plot developments, making it challenging to fully avoid redundancy while summarizing the content.)
Barbie (2023) Movie Review
Reminisce Through Perfect Visuals
Initially, many people perceived Barbie (2023) as just another live-action commercial film akin to Disney, DC, and Marvel superhero movies. Personally, I didn’t expect more than a movie designed to create a sense of “fomo” among viewers.
However, as the film unfolded, I was pleasantly surprised by its exceptional quality. Greta Gerwig’s vision of bringing Barbieland to life was commendable, especially with the striking visuals that stayed true to the original concept.
The dream house used by Barbie was an artificial set, resembling a suburban cul de sac with a vivid pink design, perfectly capturing the essence of Barbie’s world. The attention to detail, such as Barbie taking a bath without water pouring down or her eating without the utensils touching her mouth, reinforced the authenticity of the Barbie experience.
Gerwig’s visualization of Barbieland struck a nostalgic chord with both myself and the audience at the cinema, evoking childhood dreams of being part of Barbie’s world.
The film’s production and cinematography were undeniably flawless, creating an opulent and captivating visual experience, even in scenes featuring vibrant colors.
The soundtrack and score of the movie added to the enjoyment with a plethora of enjoyable songs. Dua Lipa’s “Dance the Night” brought a sense of fun, while Ryan Gosling’s “I Just Ken” served as an amusing yet entertaining surprise.
The choreography in the musical sequences was exceptional, enhancing the overall viewing experience. Credit must be given to the creative minds behind it.
I want to express my gratitude to Greta Gerwig for successfully capturing the beauty and enchantment of Barbieland, making all Barbie enthusiasts feel a genuine connection to this beloved world.
Ken, Describe Toxic Masculinity and Patriarchy
The film skillfully portrays the human side of Barbie, offering a deeper insight into her character. Greta Gerwig and Noah Baumbach also delve into Ken’s character, portrayed by Ryan Gosling.
Upon seeing Ken’s introduction, I anticipated his development to revolve around the typical narcissistic, romantic, and sweet persona. In the first half of the movie, Ken’s character is depicted in a somewhat cheesy manner, heavily focused on the theme of toxic masculinity. He strives to outshine the other Ken, played by Simu Liu, believing he must display unwavering confidence and never show fear, especially in front of Barbie.
However, the true surprise lies in the third half of the film, where Ken’s character undergoes significant growth. Returning to Barbieland, Ken emerges as a leader imposing patriarchal practices on the world, influencing all Barbies to submit to his authority.
The film subtly critiques the idea of patriarchy, highlighting how excessive control and dominance often lead to negative consequences. Ken’s obsession with patriarchal ideals is a result of the world in Barbieland being predominantly led by Barbies or women. This serves as a thought-provoking message, challenging the notion that only one gender should dominate and rule.
Indeed, the film presents a powerful statement against patriarchal practices that should be eradicated from society. The message conveyed is that men and women are equally capable and should work together as equals, leveraging their unique strengths in different areas to create a harmonious and balanced society.
Wild Adaptation, but Has a Clear Track
Greta Gerwig and Margot Robbie succeeded in making Barbie (2023) an original film without any constraints. How could that be?
Visually, everything is made as closely as possible to the doll version. But from the story line, the duet between Greta Gerwig and Noah Baumbach is wild.
I personally see that Barbieland is made like a mythology, that the various wonders in Barbieland are human imaginations, this is what makes Barbie and Ken come alive. But slowly the magic turns into disaster, when the realities of life in the real world kick in.
Barbie, who was perfect at first, now experiences a variety of ordinary women’s problems, such as bad breath and cellulite.
The way he executes the Barbie storyline (2023), is very smart. Gerwig himself said that he wanted to make a film that was out of the box and wild, so that people would say “this film is crazy.”
Barbie is a lifeless creature, then bringing it into the real world is considered wild. But Gerwig doesn’t want his film to cross the line, so he inserts some black-comedy flavors.
When it comes to the dialogue, at first it might feel really cheesy . But over time, the dialogue becomes more intense and contains a moral message. Uniquely, the various jokes displayed are also very appropriate and always manage to make the audience laugh.
Greta Gerwig also wants to show that Barbie (2023) does not focus on feminist issues. She does not make Barbie a beauty standard, but a bias from women’s complaints and her standard of living in society.
Barbieland is a dream for women to achieve equality. That’s why the court, even the hard work was filled by Barbie and there wasn’t a single figure of Ken in it.
Margot Robbie is the Perfect Barbie
In one of the scenes, Weir Barbie, played by Kate McKinnon, says that Margot Robbie is too perfect to say “she’s not pretty.”
I’ll admit that too, Margot Robbie looks absolutely amazing as Barbie. I’m not just talking about her beauty and visuals which are absolutely ideal as Barbie.
But the acting and the inspiration for the character she gives, Margot Robbie is the perfect person to play Barbie.
Throughout the film, I did not see Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn in Suicide Squad (2016) or Naomi Lapaglia in The Wolf of Wall Street (2013). In fact, I can’t see her as Margot Robbie. In the film, she is a Barbie who is searching for her identity.
Her facial expressions, the way she speaks, and her body language look like Barbie. There is no impression of stiffness or an adaptation process, from the first second, Margot Robbie has become the perfect Barbie for the film.
He succeeded in bringing the fairytale story to a sad reality. Confusion, sadness and anger are expressed very well. Not to mention his chemistry with Ryan Gosling, to Ariana Greenblatt and America Ferrera, is very beautiful.
Tribute to Ruth Handler
For those of you who don’t know, apart from Mattel, there is another figure behind the creation of Barbie. Who else if not Ruth Handler, the figure who created Barbie for the first time.
A little spoiler, at the end of the film Barbie (2023) the audience will meet the figure of Ruth Handler. Her presence is the perfect closing for the film, because it manages to break the absurdity and deadlock regarding Barbie.
Ruth said that Barbie was created to have no ending . Barbie is not a standard for women to look the same as she does, because no one looks as perfect as Barbie herself. This figure will continue to grow, as a representative of women’s lives in the world.
Ruth also said, Barbie has meaning, not only for children but for parents, especially the mother. That’s why Ruth named this doll after her daughter, Barbara, after Barbie.
Barbie is the hope for parents, so that their daughter can grow into the most perfect figure according to her dreams. Meanwhile for the child, this doll is a symbol of affection from his parents.
Fyi , Ruth Handler passed away at the age of 85, on April 27, 2002. She died after undergoing two mastectomy surgeries , due to breast cancer.
For those of you who ask whether Barbie (2023) is suitable to watch with your partner, I say it is very suitable. This film not only makes girls nostalgic, but men get various moral messages about toxic masculinity and patriarchy.
I think this film is also suitable for children, because there are no vulgar scenes in it. However, parents are still required to accompany their children while watching the film.