Did Mattel, the corporation that owns the Barbie doll, have a goal through the film of the same name of changing the perception of the toy line?
That seems clear.
I’m glad they took that route. But probably not for the same reason as Mattel’s.
I’m glad that Barbie went hard after problems. First and foremost, this idea:
Smash the patriarchy.
Smash the patriarchy.
Smash the patriarchy.
(The Merriam-Webster definition of patriarchy can be found here.)
Patriarchy may be the greatest ill in societies. Thus, I don’t care if Mattel’s primary reason for doing it was to increase doll sales.
There is also the question of if the end result is positive, how much does the why behind bringing something about matter? (About Mattel?)
Here are nine other takeaways from the film, in order from biggest to smallest.
2. I love that Barbie had an existential crisis and questioned her world
Not because I wanted Barbie (Margot Robbie) to suffer. It’s because I want the message that existential crises and questioning your world happen to the best of us to increase understanding and compassion for those of us who have endured such horrific experiences and journeys.
3. I am so glad that a transgender woman got a speaking role
Barbie (one different from Robbie’s) was played in the speaking role by a transgender woman, Hari Nef.
Since I am a transgender woman myself, that is highly encouraging.
Has Nef helped in further blazing a trail?
4. I am so glad that the transgender woman was Barbie
It also led me to learn that Mattel last year released a Barbie doll designed after a transgender woman.
I am glad for the queer representation in general in the film as well.
Barbie is a good film for someone out as transgender relatively recently.
5. The writing is brilliant
It is always funny when it can be and always smart when it would benefit in being that way.
Merely one example: When Ken (Ryan Gosling) was singing about being “Kenough.” (More on that below.)
Talking about the film, Joanna Smith, founder of Utah Women Unite, said “It’s so well-written. I feel like I need to watch it multiple times to fully get its brilliance.”
That sentiment is probably widely shared as well. Barbie is Warner Bros.’ highest-grossing film in North America, not adjusted for inflation. And it has become the first film solely woman-directed to take in more than $1 billion at the box office, according to WB.
Hats off to Greta Gerwig and Noah Baumbach, the writers. (Gerwig also directed the film.)
6. We’ve probably seen this image over and over, but one more time!
Let’s give kudos to how adorable Barbie/Robbie looks here:
This photo also resonates with me because it makes me think how I felt (remarkable) when driving from rural Utah to Los Angeles, California, with the intent to stay. (However, I was leaving such an undesired place for me and Robbie’s Barbie and Ken are headed towards such a location.)
7. If the film abandoned its core audience, I applaud Mattel even more
That would mean that Barbie probably could have made even more money but instead thought that promoting ideas it did was more important. It was even banned in several countries.
One idea in Barbie doesn’t make sense to me. Sasha (Ariana Greenblatt) criticized Robbie’s Barbie as a “fascist.” The protagonist’s behavior doesn’t have a correlation with her having a horrible political philosophy or wanting a horrible governmental system.
That out of the way, I applaud the film for every other of the many ideas it presented, best I can remember.
8. ‘I am Kenough’ is an important message
It was great to see Ken’s self-acceptance near the end of the film as he indeed sings in expression of his conclusion that he is “Kenough.” So many individuals in a similar psychological state Ken was in hopefully benefitted from hearing this message.
9. America Ferrera’s scene expressing near-impossibilities for women was powerful
10. The film looks stunning
Each set looked so impressive. And the sets accompanied by much pink were equally impressive. And will probably continue to come to my mind at the same time as Barbie comes to my mind.
That’s Kenough, folks!
8.7/10 stars for Barbie.
I don’t know, but I wonder if the film has made a big enough impact that it rises or will rise above merely the level of entertainment.
Also, that the film was as well-received as it was gives me hope for the future of the country in which I live, the United States. (It has critics and audiences scores of 88% and 83%, respectively, on Rotten Tomatoes.)
Lastly, I hope that Gosling is proud of himself for championing ideas like those seen in the film, if he once was at a different place ideologically. Since I am, like him, an ex-Mormon, I know it can be a painful journey to feeling comfortable with standing up for ideas like those Gosling did.