Look for Barbie The Movie cinematic debut on 21st July.
Barbie The Movie: The Experience
This movie is not for kiddies due to adult subject matter that has more to do with humans and less to do with dolls. Margot Robbie is Barbie personified and Ryan Gosling deserves an Oscar nod for his performance as ‘Ken’.
In Barbieland, there are multiple ‘Barbies’ and they all greet each other with, “Hello Barbie”. There are also multiple Kens, especially one in particular with a laser focused interest in a certain blonde,‘stereotypical’ Barbie. But this Barbie is a feminist.
Barbie the Movie will go head to head with Oppenheimer when it opens, but it won’t be a showdown. The dichotomy is obvious and any suggestion this is Barbenheimer, to settle a ‘score’ misses the mark. Firstly, these are two opposing films that will cater to certain audience tastes. Secondly, read our first point. Interestingly, several theatres scheduled both Barbie The Movie and Oppenheimer screenings on the same evening.
The Los Angeles premier of Barbie went off without a hitch. However, Oppenheimer’s premier in London occurred as the SAG-AFTRA strike launched. As a result, several heavy hitters including Matt Damon, Cillian Murphy, Emily Blunt and Florence Pugh walked out in solidarity, albeit they walked the red carpet. As of this report, all of Hollywood is at a stalemate and standstill. Cancelling press junkets were a clear sign that a strike was happening.
Barbie The Movie: The Access
Gabrielle Bourne Media would like to thank Warner Bros. Pictures, Mattel, Inc (Nasdaq: MAT) and American Express Centurion and Platinum for the opportunity to screen Barbie. Access was available for the Premier in Los Angeles on 9th July and screenings in several cities across the United States on 18th July.
Our clients and associates can gain access to upcoming special events, premiers and screenings here.
The Spoiler Alert
According to the film’s tagline.
She’s everything. He’s just Ken
When the ‘Barbie’ doll debuted on 9th March 1959, it was a game changer. Little girls who played with baby dolls soon replaced them with ‘Barbies’. In the film version, the little girls start smashing their baby dolls, in a violent display that was unnecessary. Ruth Handler who created Barbie, named after her daughter, Barbara, makes a brief but ‘ghostly’ appearance in the film. Handler passed away in 2002. She acts as an old sage, guiding Barbie to a pivotal decision in the end.
The real Ruth Handler and her husband founded Mattel in 1945, and resigned in 1974 amidst an investigation accusing them of issuing false and misleading financial reports. Rhea Perlman who plays Handler alludes to this in the film. By resurrecting Handler, Mattel acknowledges its founder and Barbie creator, which is a fitting tribute.
Let’s first address the elephant in the room. OMG a transgender woman is playing Barbie? Heaven forbid! Let’s not get our pink knickers in a twist. Firstly, Barbies do not have any concept of womanhood. They don’t have a vagina. Here’s the spoiler. Margot Robbie’s Barbie does get one at the end.
The Barbies all refer to each other as “Barbie”. Additionally, it’s call acting. Mattel, Inc is known for pushing the envelop when it comes to developing their Barbies and Kens. A discontinued pregnant Midge, the Irish American friend of ‘Stereotypical’ Barbie makes an appearance in the film, as well as wheelchair Barbie during a dance party.
The Through Line
Barbie The Movie is not for kiddies, as we stated in our opening commentary. That’s because this film is riddled with adult themes and enquiries on death and the meaning of existence.
Barbieland is an isolated Utopian society where Barbies rule the roost and Kens, well, are just Kens. Barbies can be anything, including the president, a Supreme Court justice and a doctor. They own their own homes, fully furnished and with a dream wardrobe. Each morning is basically redundant. They get up with their usual greeting to each other, “Hello Barbie”, and pretend to eat and drink. The cups are all empty. But when one Barbie (Margot Robbie) starts feeling gloom and doom, thinking about death, she must investigate.
Barbie is advised to seek out her handler, the one who is playing with her. She makes the journey to the ‘real world’ and soon discovers it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. When Ken (Ryan Gosling) tags along, he too discovers his more masculine side by observing the males in the real world. Once they return to Barbieland, an all out battle between the Barbies and Kens ensues, when Barbie realises that “Patriarchy” has taken hold of Barbieland. All the Barbies are at the whim of the Kens with Ken (Ryan Gosling) leading the charge.
Barbie and her fellow Barbies win back their rights at the end and restore order. They could not have done this without the human (America Ferrera) from the real world and her daughter. Barbie’s feelings of gloom, doom and death were the thoughts of her human counterpart. Having experience human emotion such as crying, Barbie wanted to be human in the end, just like Pinocchio wanted to be a real boy.
Greta Gerwig is a gifted writer and director. We had the pleasure to screen Lady Bird and Little Women in the past. Barbie is her third film as writer/director. However, this is not a film for girls due to the adult subject matter. If you enjoy adult comedy fantasy, Barbie The Movie is for you. The film is not a romance, but riddled with Barbie-power. It’s a visually stunning film that should get a nod for cinematography and set design, in addition to acting. Ryan Gosling was perfectly cast as Ken to play opposite Margot Robbie as ‘Stereotypical’ Barbie. Robbie fit the bill perfectly because she plays “the Barbie everyone thinks of when you think of Barbie“.
If you are offended by feminism, this film probably is not for you. Naturally the focal point is Barbie. Because in her world called Barbieland, she rules the roost. The film does not make any excuses to the contrary. It’s in the tagline.
In the end, however, (spoiler), Barbie decides to become human. Where does that leave girls and the Barbies you ask? Your guess is as good as ours. Whilst Barbie’s humanism might be uplifting to a doll, it leaves the rest of us wondering why even bother with a Barbie doll? To this end, we think it sends a wrong message. Barbie should have found peace and happiness within herself, not look for it outside.
Barbie The Movie will have wider release in theatres on 21st July. Due to the SAG-AFTRA strike all press junkets for this film has ceased.