Greta Gerwig’s ‘Barbie’: A Clever Comedy Review

Greta Gerwig’s “Barbie” brings one of America’s most iconic toys to life on the big screen with a fresh and empowering twist. The film takes a hot pink pop fantasia approach, poking fun at patriarchal norms and the corporate parent, Mattel, while delivering a strong message about female empowerment. Margot Robbie’s moxie-powered performance as Barbie is a standout, making her an ideal fit for the iconic role.

The strength of the Barbie brand lies in its aspirational appeal, showing girls that they can achieve anything. Gerwig smartly incorporates this notion into her movie by highlighting the parallel between movie stars and Barbie as role models. Robbie’s portrayal captures Barbie’s abstract notion of herself as a toy, but the film takes a bold step by pointing out how the doll’s idealized design can negatively impact self-esteem and perpetuate unrealistic beauty standards.

The movie’s imaginative setting, Barbie Land, is an explosion of supersaturated colors where diverse Barbies hold positions of power, winning Nobel Prizes and occupying seats on the Supreme Court. However, Gerwig cleverly juxtaposes this fantasy world with the real one, where women continue to face gender disparities, even within the corporate structure of Mattel. Helen Mirren serves as the narrator, adding humor and wit, while the script lays bare the criticism that Barbie sets back the women’s movement.

The film’s feminist message is loud and clear as it confronts rampant patriarchy head-on. Gerwig skillfully integrates social critiques into the story, demonstrating how deeply rooted gender inequality is in our society. Ryan Gosling’s portrayal of Ken, the epitome of a sartorially helpless pretty boy, humorously parodies masculinity stereotypes and draws attention to their absurdity.

While “Barbie” excels in addressing pertinent issues, it stumbles in delivering an emotional impact. The movie remains an intellectual experience grounded in nostalgia and aimed primarily at grown women and gay audiences who have fond memories of the dolls. Gerwig’s incorporation of gender studies lectures at times, though commendable, may alienate some viewers seeking a more emotionally engaging narrative.

Despite this minor flaw, “Barbie” is an entertaining and cleverly executed high-concept comedy. Gerwig’s film successfully dismantles stereotypes while celebrating women’s empowerment, and the casting of Margot Robbie as Barbie is nothing short of perfect. The movie sends a positive and inspiring message to young girls, encouraging them to embrace their dreams and strive for greatness, just like Barbie herself.

Barbie” is a vibrant and relevant family film that cleverly addresses social issues while providing a visual feast of colors and pop-culture references. Greta Gerwig’s directorial vision and Margot Robbie’s captivating performance make “Barbie” an enjoyable watch, packed with food for thought and laughter. Despite its minor shortcomings, the film’s empowering message shines through, making it a valuable addition to the legacy of the iconic doll.

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