In Greta Gerwig’s palms, Barbie is a weapon. The director wields the enduring doll like a broadsword in “Barbie,” cleaving via tradition with gleeful spirit and savage humor.
On this existential exegesis on what it means to be a lady, and a human, Gerwig displays our world again to us via the lens of Barbie, and in doing so, delivers a barbed assertion wrapped in a visually luxurious and sublimely foolish cinematic confection.
Written by Gerwig and her husband, filmmaker Noah Baumbach, “Barbie” works in broad story strokes, which permits Gerwig to experiment with model and humor, creating the protected area for his or her pointed commentary on patriarchy, misogyny and perfectionism. These ideas don’t exist in Barbieland, a girly utopia and true Barbiarchy, the place solely Barbies sit on the Supreme Court docket, win Nobel Prizes and get to be president.
Barbie (Margot Robbie) has to depart the consolation of Barbieland in an try to stem the tide of irrepressible ideas of loss of life that begin to creep via her cotton-candy consciousness, disastrously invading her disco dance events. Our heroine is molded within the model of Neo of “The Matrix” or Pee-Wee from “Pee-Wee’s Large Journey,” an harmless embarking on a journey outdoors of their cozy Baudrillardian simulacrum.
On the recommendation of Kate McKinnon’s Bizarre Barbie (scribbled-on make-up, loopy haircut, at all times within the splits), Barbie units out to seek out the woman who’s enjoying along with her, to shut the portal between Barbieland and the Actual World. Ken (Ryan Gosling) tags alongside. In Los Angeles, they each uncover patriarchy, an idea that Ken brings again to Barbieland in a tidal wave of horse-themed paintings, leather-based couches and Sylvester Stallone-inspired mink coats, fomenting revolt among the many Kens.
Whereas “Barbie” balances trenchant social observations and escapism, Gerwig attracts on a century’s price of film references, and virtually each Barbie doll and dwelling Mattel has ever made, together with Midge (Emerald Fennell) and Allan (Michael Cera). The movie borrows from the sherbet-colored artifice of “The Umbrellas of Cherbourg,” the opulent units of “The Crimson Footwear,” the costuming of “Grease,” and Gene Kelly’s dream ballets of “An American in Paris” and “Singin’ within the Rain.”
Just like the musical film stars of yore, our stars sort out these roles with their complete our bodies. Robbie delivers a bodily efficiency that apes the stiff limbs and cheery grin of the doll, but in addition builds in consciousness and emotion over the course of the movie. She generously permits Gosling the majority of the comedian moments, as he leans into rubber-faced response photographs and himbo charisma.
All through her roller-coaster trip to the Actual World and again, Barbie discovers that feminism is about seeing the humanity in everybody, even Ken, however most significantly, in herself.
One might make the argument that “Barbie” is a type of end result of pop cultural and cinematic historical past, nevertheless it’s the end result of a pop cultural and cinematic historical past of a selected auteur. Gerwig has her personal body of reference, private id and inventive agenda, and that is her “Barbie,” a movie that’s expansive, enjoyable and welcoming, however is a creation sprung from her personal coronary heart and thoughts.
4 stars (out of 4)