Coming Attractions,  entertainment,  Film Reviews,  Warner Brothers

Greta Gerwig Brings Barbie into the 21st Century with Fun and Feminism

I have always been a fan of Barbie, even when Mattel took decades to finally make one that actually looked like me.  Representation is everything right?  When it comes to dolls and the image that dolls represent, the stream has always flowed in one direction…until now.

Director Greta Gerwig has provided audiences much to chew on as she takes Barbie (Margot Robbie) and Ken (Ryan Gosling) from having the time of their lives in the colorful and seemingly perfect world of Barbie Land into the real world.  It is there they soon discover the joys and perils of living among humans with all of its complications, prejudices and gender issues. Sounds a little deep for a movie one would think is about a doll?  Of course it is, but this is not 1959 and the image of the doll has evolved from being a girl who just wants to have fun and hang out with Ken to a woman curious about the ways of the world, how she fits into it and why her image is reviled by some and revered by others. A nod to various iterations of the doll are laden within the character names like Sterotypical Barbie, Weird Barbie, Fantasy Barbie, Fashion Barbie and we even get a glimpse into some editions that didn’t last long like Midge, Skipper, Stacey and Alan (all of which I own…don’t judge me).

After bringing us hits like ‘Lady Bird’ and “Little Women,’ one would expect no less from Gerwig and her co-screenwriting husband Noah Baumbach who continue to push against the status quo every chance they get…respectfully of course.  The opening sequence with a handful of young girls demolishing their baby dolls for Barbie only to have that image flipped on its head leaves room for major conversations around what women are expected to look like and how they are expected to navigate in  a society that would rather see us conform to the norm to make men more comfortable and less intimated.

Robbie and Gosling are perfection as Barbie and Ken swirling about in loads of pink cotton candy feasts of costumes, sets and amazing production design.  The dance sequences that sometimes get dark momentarily for a point to be made about depression or something else perceived as a little less fluffy are entertaining and fun-filled.  What I love most is that we get to meet Barbie in a place of re-discovery through the eyes of  Gloria (America Ferrera) and her daughter Sasha (Ariana Greenblatt). It was also not lost on me that the creator of the iconic doll Ruth Handler (played by Rhea Pearlman) was given a little respectful nod.

Barbie is packed to the brim with enough stars to fill the heavens and most grossly underutilized as various versions of the dolls or Ken.  On a personal note, I really loved that the President of Barbie Land was Issa Rae, that Barbie world didn’t revolve around Ken and that the doll herself has evolved into providing images of having the capability to pursue any career you desire regardless of race or gender.  For me, that is the most important lesson of all.

I love, love love movies, watching them and discussing them...thus the birth of The Curvy Film Critic!!! Host/Producer/FilmCritic,Carla Renata is a member of such esteemed organizations as Critics Choice Association (Co-President Documentary Branch), African American Film Critics Association, Online Association of Female Film Critics and Alliance of Women Film Journalists. My op-eds or features have been seen in VARIETY,, Maltin on Movies, The Cherry Picks, IGN Movies, as well as being a frequent Guest Contributor to Fox 11-LA, Good Day LA, ET Live!, Turner Classic Movies, KCRW Press Play with Madeline Brand, The Cherry Picks, The Stream Team (Beond TV) ITV, Fox Soul's The Black Report, The ListTV and more. Catch my reviews on The Curvy Critic with Carla Renata - LIVE!!! Sundays 5pm PST via You Tube or Facebook Live. If you like what you read please shout me out and subscribe to The Curvy Critic on YouTube. You can chat with me across all social media platforms @TheCurvyCritic and as always, thanks for supporting a sista'

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