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Barbie

Updated: Feb 21


Right before the lights went down in our theater for BARBIE, a guy showed up with his son & daughter in tow, both about 4 years old. Oops.

Writer/Director Greta Gerwig's smart, funny and observant new movie is many things, but it's definitely NOT a movie for young kids.

Opening with a sequence that pays hilarious homage to Kubrick's 2001 while simultaneously introducing us to Helen Mirren's wise narration, you realize immediately this isn't a brand driven kiddie flick.

I wasn't surprised as Gerwig had already stunned me once with her 2017 directorial debut, "Lady Bird", one of the most confident, funny and intelligent films about mothers and daughters ever made. Gerwig brings that same attitude to BARBIE, packing it with big laughs and the best kind of smart writing that makes you think about the world while you laugh.

Margot Robbie is perfect as Barbie, bringing her to life in the incredibly detailed Barbieland that surrounds her. The production and set design team does superb work, filling every corner of the screen with screaming pink details.

Ryan Gosling has his funniest role since "The Nice Guys" as Ken. He only has eyes for Barbie, but it's hard to get her attention when every dude in sight is also named Ken and they all have the same perfectly sculpted abs that you do. Every night is ladies night and that leaves very little room for Ken. Hmmmmmm....

Once Gerwig cleverly establishes all the rules of Barbieland, she almost immediately challenges them as Barbie begins to question her life and death. Why are these thoughts entering her head? Isn't everything perfect in Barbieland AND the Real World?

She visits "Weird Barbie" perfectly played by Kate McKinnon in her best film role to date. McKinnon is such a talented comic and sketch artist but for me, her talent has never fully been taken advantage of in her many screen roles. Here, she nails every scene, including the line, "Come in to my Weird House! Hi, I'm Weird Barbie, I am in the splits, I have a funky haircut and I smell like basement."

Weird Barbie sends Barbie off to visit the Real World and Ken sneaks along to join her. What could have been a run-of-the-mill "fish out of water" tale becomes something much more thanks to the screenplay by Gerwig and Noah Baumbach (The Squid and the Whale, Marriage Story).

Ken immediately senses that the real world is very different and soaks up every bit of masculinity, immediately determined to bring it back to Barbieland.

Barbie heads off to Mattel headquarters to meet with the CEO, played by Will Ferrell.

The Real World and Barbieland collide with plenty of fallout, especially for the CEO's assistant Gloria (America Ferrera) and her daughter Sasha, played by Ariana Greenblatt (65, Avengers: Infinity War).

To say anymore would be to spoil the fun and surprises. Some of the greatest surprises for us were the tender moments touching on mothers & daughters, growing up and relationships. Having lost one of our daughters, those moments ring hard and true.

"We mothers stand still so our daughters can look back and see how far they've come."


There has been push back, as there always is from one faction or another when something is this popular. With over $775 million at the worldwide box office in its first 10 days, BARBIE isn't a hit, it's a phenomenon. So of course, talking heads are screaming that the movie is woke propaganda that smashes the male ego every chance it gets.

Is the average man in America really so fragile that an intelligent comedy forcing us to look at ourselves and the world suddenly is deemed worthy of such outrage? If so, that kind of proves the point of the film, doesn't it?

In the words of Sgt. Hulka from "Stripes", "Lighten up, Francis!"

There are plenty of great actors as Ken's of every stripe, I'm not giving anything away. Issa Rae (Insecure) is a standout as the President of Barbieland, she lands every punch line to perfection and Michael Cera (Superbad) delivers laughs as Allan, a lone character amongst a sea of Kens.

The music score by Mark Ronson is a standout, featuring the likes of Lizzo, Dua Lipa, Nicki Minaj, HAIM, Billie Eilish, Khalid and Ryan Gosling's hilarious ballad "I'm Just Ken".

Smart and funny is a rare and dangerous recipe to brew perfectly. Gerwig, Robbie and Gosling serve it up to perfection in BARBIE, earning an appreciative A. That's three A's in a row for Gerwig, one of the most exciting writer/directors on our American film landscape.







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4件のコメント

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不明なメンバー
2023年8月01日

Love this review, George!! Totally agree on all of your points and so glad you loved it as much as I did!!

いいね!
不明なメンバー
2023年8月01日
返信先

Thanks Brady! You KNOW there are sequels coming....

いいね!

不明なメンバー
2023年8月01日

Thank you for another great review! I'm sure the mother/daughter plot scenes were difficult. Elizabeth said she'd heard about it. I just cried reading your mention of Kristin. You've talked me into seeing what I assumed would be an insipid movie.

いいね!
不明なメンバー
2023年8月01日
返信先

Kristin would have LOVED this movie. I'm hoping you enjoy it as much as we did. Tamara liked it even more than I did.

いいね!