Greta Gerwig’s ‘Barbie’ celebrates the many reincarnations of complex doll

The Barbie movie is everything you hope it will be

Where: In theatres
What: Movie, 114 mins.
When: Now
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Rating: NNNNN (out of 5)
Why you should watch: The Hollywood blockbuster of the decade that you’ll be rewatching for years to come

“ARE THEY REALLY GOING TO GO THERE?” is what you’ll probably find yourself thinking several times throughout Barbie. No matter if you’ve seen the trailers, heard whispers of spoilers or think you know what’s coming, you’ll likely still be surprised.

Everything revolves around the Barbies in Barbieland. They have it all: cute clothes, inspiring careers, fun dance moves, the perfect Kens and plenty of leisure time to have girls’ night every night.

Then, Barbie asks the question what if you’re not actually the main character? For stereotypical Barbie (Margot Robbie), she comes face to face with the life-altering fact that not everybody likes her in the real world — in fact, many loathe her for what she represents. For Ken (Ryan Gosling), he learns to be more than just Ken.

The movie is seriously silly, extremely campy and an absolute joy to watch (and rewatch). Whether you grew up playing with Barbies or not, you’ll probably find that you know more about the brand than you thought. There’re acknowledgments that people play with Barbies in all sorts of ways, which can sometimes be a bit dark (like Kate McKinnon’s performance as the weird Barbie and the mid-movie meltdown commercial for depressed Barbie).

The Barbie doll may have gotten its start as a symbol of unattainable perfection —thin, beautiful, white — but it has evolved to become so much more. Director/writer Greta Gerwig is able to get away with so much through the mouthpiece of this iconic brand because Mattel can accept that Barbie keeps growing, diversifying its image.

The Mattel CEO (Will Ferrell) is not so much a real character but the perfect parody of a male CEO. Further, the rest of the incompetent all-male executive team follows Ferrell around like a group of lemmings. Surely you’d expect some women on the C-level executive team of a brand that markets toys to young girls, right? The fact that Mattel allowed Gerwig to poke fun at its history perhaps indicates the brand’s willingness to change.

This movie is reshaping what we think of the doll. Barbie and Mattel aren’t telling consumers what the ideal woman is — instead it’s evident that the audience dictates who Barbie is. Barbie is diverse, funny, kind, smart, emotional, ambitious, fashionable and more.

In this case, Barbie is still just a doll and this is just a movie. It offers a critique on feminism and capitalism, but it’s not able to solve any real-world problems (nor should it be expected to). For an hour and 54 minutes though, you can get dressed in pink, forget those problems and enjoy this silly little movie. So, come on, Barbie, let’s go party at the movie theatres!