Coming Soon: In Anticipation of 'Barbie' (2023)
This is one I ordinarily would not have been excited for, but I want to promote this ahead of its July 21st release, especially to those who also wouldn't ordinarily go near a movie like Barbie (2023). Part of my excitement comes from the film having Greta Gerwig at the helm (LOVED Lady Bird (2017) and Little Women (2019)), and her having cowritten the script with her husband Noah Baumbach (one of my favorite writers/directors). Another aspect is its phenomenal cast, led by Margot Robbie (I, Tonya (2017), The Suicide Squad (2021)) and Ryan Gosling (Drive (2011), Lars & The Real Girl (2007)). It's also gorgeously shot by the great Rodrigo Prieto (The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)), with equally beautiful production design by Sarah Greenwood (Sherlock Holmes (2009), Atonement (2007))
But what's really got me pumped for this picture is its story structure and subtextual themes. Barbie has received a lot of flack over the years for supposedly purporting impossible physical beauty standards for girls and women alike, when that was never the intent of its creator, Ruth Handler. When the doll was first created in the 1950s, the purpose was to show girls who played with her that they could be anything, revolutionary given the stereotypical gender roles of the era. To say the least, this message has gotten quite lost in the societal discourse over the physical appearance of Barbie as a toy.
In the case of the film, it follows the titular doll (Robbie), whose happy life in Barbie-Land is disrupted when she starts to experience an existential crisis. Wondering what lies beyond her 'perfect' and routine world, Barbie ventures into The Real World, with Ken (Gosling) in tow.
How this all ties together is that, given the most recent trailer for the movie, which I'll link below, and which gave us a much more firm grasp on what the story was, it's clear that Greta Gerwig has crafted a tale that places story first, and is also highly irreverent and funny (this feels like a cross between The Lego Movie (2014) and The Muppets (2011)), but also has an undercurrent feminist message, Barbie begins to experience the sexism and gender norms of our world, which culminates in an evil scheme by the Mattel CEO (Will Ferrell) to get this doll back in her box and keep her there. This is a film that clearly is going to be an entertaining comedy first, but also an empowering feminist fable. Something that everyone will be able to enjoy.
You can watch the trailer for Barbie right here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pBk4NYhWNMM