“Barbie” has undoubtedly opened up to some big box office numbers, but you might be surprised that it’s not quite the kid’s movie you may expect from Mattel and the Barbie franchise. Greta Gerwin is the director that was tasked with bringing Barbie to the big screen. With the marketing team in overdrive, it was hard to miss all the pink this summer and at the movie theaters as so many got caught up in the Barbie frenzy. I’ll admit, despite all of the marketing, I didn’t quite know what to expect when I watched this movie. I admittedly expected a childish movie geared to Barbie-loving little girls, but I couldn’t have been more wrong.
At first, the star-studded cast piqued my interest. It was filled with big names which included Margot Robbie as “Barbie” and Ryan Gosling as “Ken.” The supporting cast included Will Ferrell, America Ferrara and Simu Liu to name a few. I would say that every single one of the characters in “Barbie” displayed a great amount of character development. As Barbie was forced to experience the real world and leave Barbieland, she originally felt as if she had to be perfect in her role as stereotypical Barbie but then realized that she could be her own version of herself. Ken also had major character development. He went from feeling like he only lived for Barbie to loving himself and feeling like enough.
Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling did a great job of portraying such iconic figures. Gosling’s song entitled “I’m just Ken” was one of the highlights of the film which included Gosling on lead vocals. The costumes and cheesy dancing provided lightness to the lyrics that find Ken questioning his existence as it relates to his love for Barbie which is not reciprocated. All provided talented performances that not only included acting but also included memorable dancing and singing numbers. The entire cast seamlessly takes the audience through an array of emotions through the music. Lighthearted humor is interwoven throughout the movie which balanced the heavier themes that touched on feminism and the delicate balance of male and female roles in society.
The Barbie movie definitely achieved the nostalgia that everyone was expecting. Using costume design, the producers were able to give the audience a sense of nostalgia through the bright and vibrant colors. “Barbie Land” incorporated all of the Barbie playsets which included the beloved Barbie Dream House and corvette. Movie producers did a great job incorporating the old Barbie styles whilst adding modern twists, like using Chanel, a popular clothing brand, for one of Barbie’s many outfits.
All in all, Barbie hit all the right notes when it comes to nostalgia, fun visuals, and light-hearted humor with the support of a talented and seasoned cast. The movie theater was filled with Barbie fans of all ages who were all, of course, wearing pink. Despite all of the fun, some would say there was a feminist undertone throughout the movie. America Ferrara’s character speaks to so many women and girls trying to find balance in a world that is often not kind or fair. A world that can judge unfairly despite your best efforts and often not based on your character. Yes, girl power is strong in this movie, but Ken also provides an important reminder that people need a purpose and to know they matter. Barbie and Ken evolve from the movie tagline “She’s Barbie….and he’s just Ken”. By the end, the characters grow into characters with more depth and meaning.