Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

Movies

‘Barbie’ (review)

Since her introduction in 1959, Barbie has been a staple figure in the pop culture landscape for reasons both good and bad, as the doll has been both celebrated as well as the cause of much outrage over the years.

As such, the concept of a live action Barbie film feels at once both obvious and absurd; there is an almost infinite gallery of characters to pick from thanks to the prolific Mattel production line, but where do you even start to put any of that into a cinematic framework that is actually compelling to a mature audience?

Had anyone other than Greta Gerwig been behind the film, fears that the film would solely be a poorly concealed commercial with zero cultural and societal relevance would likely have held true, but considering Gerwig’s specialty is coming-of-stories seen from a feminine perspective, she has managed to elevate Barbie to something rather exceptional and delectably subversive.

Margot Robbie effortlessly portrays Barbie in a way that hardly comes as a surprise as she not only looks the part, but also imbues her Barbie with an optimism that is at times endearingly naïve but ultimately becomes sincerely empowering, as she goes through an existential crisis that sees her relearn how to delicately balance her inherent core characteristics of optimism and assertiveness.

To some, Ryan Gosling may have seemed an unlikely casting choice, but thanks to his undeniable charisma, solid acting chops and exquisite comic timing, he absolutely steals the show with a pitch perfect performance as a hammy, imbecilic Ken playing second fiddle to Robbie’s Barbie until he stumbles upon something that suddenly opens new opportunities for him to assert himself.

Other standouts are Kate McKinnon’s Weird Barbie, whom she expertly inhabits with her trademark awkwardness and dry delivery, and Michael Cera’s turn as Ken’s long since forgotten pal Allan also delights in ways few would have predicted.

As for the human characters, America Ferrera delivers an impactful monologue that will resonate with women of all ages and anyone else with an iota of empathy, while Will Ferrell’s oafish Mattel CEO manages to garner laughs without outstaying his welcome.

Add to that the many cameos of some of the more obscure characters in Barbie’s world, the film continuously slyly winks at the audience in a manner that further adds to the entertainment value of a deeply witty film with a pleasantly surprising amount of heart.

The production design is gorgeously camp, which on the surface sparks joy with the myriad of references to Barbie’s world, the things therein and how you tend to play with Barbies, but cinephiles will also recognize an impressive amount of referencing to silver screen classics of bygone eras.

Beyond the immediate enjoyment factor, this hyper real representation of Barbie’s world also serves as a reminder that the hyper feminine is not inherently synonymous with weakness, and the film unapologetically and hilariously takes multiple jabs at the patriarchy in a manner that few mainstream films dare.

As the tag line says, Barbie is everything, and so is this visually vibrant, subversively funny and unapologetically feminist tale from Gerwig & Co. which is surprisingly touching and full of humanity for a movie based on a mass-produced plastic doll.

Verdict: 9 out of 10.

* * * * *
Produced by David Heyman, Margot Robbie, Tom Ackerley, Robbie Brenner
Written by Greta Gerwig, Noah Baumbach
Based on Barbie by Mattel
Directed by Greta Gerwig
Starring Margot Robbie, Ryan Gosling, America Ferrera, Kate McKinnon, Michael Cera,
Alexandra Shipp, Emma Mackey, Dua Lipa, Simu Liu, Issa Rae, Rhea Perlman, Will Ferrell

 

 

Click to comment

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

DISCLAIMER

Forces of Geek is protected from liability under the DMCA (Digital Millenium Copyright Act) and “Safe Harbor” provisions.

All posts are submitted by volunteer contributors who have agreed to our Code of Conduct.

FOG! will disable users who knowingly commit plagiarism, piracy, trademark or copyright infringement.

Please contact us for expeditious removal of copyrighted/trademarked content.

SOCIAL INFLUENCER POLICY

In many cases free copies of media and merchandise were provided in exchange for an unbiased and honest review. The opinions shared on Forces of Geek are those of the individual author.

You May Also Like

Movies

This time, terror comes from below … as well as a new Phantoms [Collector’s Edition] 4K UHD + Blu-Ray combo set arriving on July...

Movies

  People online are always talking about how they would never be able to make Blazing Saddles today. This, of course, is true, if...

Movies

Experience writer/director John Krasinski’s “heartwarming” (Joey Paur, GeekTyrant) and “hilarious” (Tessa Smith, Mama’s Geeky) original adventure IF when it arrives to buy or rent...

Movies

The trouble is, it’s just not true. This is a movie about how your grandparents were phonies and the city you live in is...