"Barbie" Film Review
By: Nathaniel Simpson
Greta Gerwig's "Barbie", alongside Christopher Nolan's biopic "Oppenheimer", is one of the most anticipated movies in a long time. Whether it is the hilarious trailers they have released or the social media hype around both of the films, July 21st is definitely an exciting time for cinema. Thankfully, Gerwig delivers in a huge, fashionable way; her newest film is hilarious, heart-felt, socially-aware, and just tons of fun from beginning to end.
Barbie (Margot Robbie) has went through life very fashionably - she has her own world, which she lives in her Malibu dream house, has Ken (Ryan Gosling) pawning after her at every second, has insane parties with all of the other Barbies (Emma Mackey, Issa Rae, Kate McKinnon, etc.), and just gets to live the perfect life of a woman. However, that is all flipped upside down as she discovers the real-world is not like her home in the Barbie World. Because of this, she must now figure out who she is, and where she truly fits in in this ever-changing world that is far from perfect.
From the get-go, Gerwig captures your attention and keeps it until the final credit rolls. This world she has created is so much fun and very immersive; the viewer can feel like they're experiencing all of these events right alongside Barbie and Ken. This is due to her amazing screenplay, which she wrote with her long-time partner, Noah Baumbach. They were able to add in so many different subtle references and jabs at what society is like today, and it's all done gloriously.
I have mentioned in reviews for other films that their message simply doesn't work because they are trying to jam it down your throat; I don't feel that way about "Barbie". The messages Gerwig wants to get across are obvious and firm (especially since America Ferrera's character clears it up for you in one scene in case you were confused), and she is able to make her point known respectfully. I have seen a lot of viewers and critics, especially male, getting irked at this movie's themes and messages, and the only question I ask is why? Isn't everything that is in Gerwig's story accurate? I definitely think so, and I am applauding her for taking that chance with a movie like this and able to successfully communicate it with the audience.
Going in, I was expecting a sort of raunchy comedy with subtle humor, and that is exactly what I got. This movie is hilarious, and so much fun till the very end. I went and saw this at the Barbie Blowout Party in Century City believe it or not, and the entire audience was loud the entire movie. Almost every scene garnered a laugh, and they were definitely earned. Whether it is the plot points or Gerwig's social commentary or the spectacular performances from its cast, it all simply worked perfectly. This is honestly better than what I expected, and my expectations were already pretty high.
Speaking of performances, every role is perfectly cast and performed, especially Robbie and Gosling. Robbie is Barbie, and there's no doubt about it. She perfectly plays this iconic character, and shows why she is such a talented and successful actress. At the same time, Gosling steals the show in perhaps every scene he is in. He is known for playing the brooding, mysterious characters, like The Driver in "Drive" and Sebastian in "La La Land". But here, we see a character we have never seen Gosling before, and he's perfect at it. He's hilarious, tons of fun, and honestly just a joy to watch. Gosling plays him with so much energy that he practically jumps off the screen. I definitely think he gave a stand-out performance here.
I also enjoyed the rest of the cast immensely. Ferrera and Ariana Greenblatt, who played a mother-daughter duo, are lots of fun and serve as the relatable characters in the movie; I'm sure every mother-daughter duo can relate to them in the film. At the same time, the other actresses and actors who play Barbie and Ken respectively, including Simu Liu and Kingsley Ben-Adir for the male part, are lots of fun and are able to craft their own unique version of the classic character.
I also have to mention Will Ferrel, who gives the performance of Mattel CEO. He is simply just a fantastic character and represents a form of society that is very toxic. Ferrel, who usually plays lovable characters, is tasked with bringing to life a character that is so vile and evil, yet you still love him all the same. I think every character in this film has a redeeming quality, even if it's hard to see it at first.
The set design that is present for Barbie World is fantastic! The entire set looks like we stepped into the world of Barbie, and we are living amongst our favorite dolls and toys growing up. It was surreal to see some of the most famous actors and actresses in the Malibu Dream House. At the same time, the makeup and effects are wonderfully on display here. I find it impressive they were able to make these living, breathing actors look like dolls, in terms of their complexions and skin. Like I mentioned earlier, the movie does a great job of immersing the viewer into the screen with the actors.
I'm very pleased with how this film turned out, and it exceeded all my expectations. I simply had such a fun time with everything this movie did, and Gerwig really crafted a film that anyone can enjoy. I applaud everyone involved, from the cast to the crew behind the scenes, and I seriously can't wait to see this movie again on the big screen.