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2023 Movie Reviews: Barbie’s Pink

Picture+from+%40thebarbiemovie+on+Instagram
Picture from @thebarbiemovie on Instagram

Mattel’s Barbie has swept the world as one of the most popular children’s brands since its launch in the late 1950’s. Barbie serves as a feminist brand promoting the idea of independence and that women can be successful in male dominated careers.

Since the release of the classic and iconic Barbie doll, Barbie has rolled out many different extensions and variations of the original doll, movies, TV series and video games. The most recent creation by Barbie is the live action film released Jul. 9.

In Barbieland, run by female Barbies, main character “Stereotypical” Barbie experiences thoughts of death revealed to be a result of the child playing with her. Barbie and her boyfriend “Beach” Ken travel to the real world to help this child who is discovered to be the child’s mother. 

Barbie and Ken see a role reversal in the real world, where men hold most positions of power, leaving Barbie self-conscious and Ken with a new sense of importance. Upon return to Barbieland, Ken takes control as a result of his newly grown ego. The Barbies take back power, and the movie ends when Barbie ventures into the real world to develop a greater sense of self.

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As someone who always played with Barbies as a young girl, when this movie was announced I was extremely excited. I remember the trailer seeming so whimsical and magical that I knew I had no choice but to watch it.

Margot Robbie portrays the classic blonde Barbie—the doll most commonly associated with the brand—otherwise known as “Stereotypical” Barbie. Robbie beautifully displays her character’s development of self-confidence and struggles with depression in a male dominated real world. 

Robbie skillfully evokes a wide range of emotion in viewers. With moments for everything from laughter to tears, Robbie shows her impressive and extensive range in acting.

Before “Barbie,” Ryan Gosling mainly acted in more serious films like The Place Beyond the Pines and Stay.

Fans of the Barbie brand were unsure of Gosling’s casting as Ken in the live action. Gosling portrays “Beach” Ken, Barbie’s boyfriend, who, in the beginning of the movie, is constantly trying to impress and be closer to Barbie. 

Surprising doubtful fans, Gosling gives one of the most humorous performances of the year. Gosling shows depth in his acting abilities through singing and dancing in multiple scenes throughout the movie. Gosling shows Ken’s journey through newfound respect and realization of how to control his urges for power.

Remarkable acting aside, the best part of this movie is the soundtrack. The Barbie soundtrack produced a song by the cast, featuring Ryan Gosling, called “I’m Just Ken,” along with songs from worldwide known artists such as Dua Lipa and Billie Eilish.

Dua Lipa’s “Dance The Night” is sparkling and upbeat, used in a dancing scene with all of the different versions of Barbie and Ken. This song shows the stereotypical Barbie world, before Barbie and Ken begin their self discovery journey in the real world. 

On the other hand, “What Was I Made For?” by Billie Eilish is much slower and features much sadder lyrics. This is a representation of Barbie’s inner crisis of not knowing her true purpose in life. 

The variety of songs in this film pairs extremely well with the emotional journey that the characters experience as the film progresses. The soundtrack was also a very smart business move to draw in viewers with some songs being released ahead of the movie release. 

This film is extremely captivating, and manages to not lose viewers’ attention at any point in the film. It truly has something for everyone—whether it’s music, dancing, heart-wrenching speeches or just a good laugh. The acting, cinematography and writing is exemplary.

Through comedy and important monologues, Barbie develops broad themes—with a specific focus on the treatment of women in the real world and how damaging it can be. This theme is handled extremely well, and this film is a great example to people of all ages of the importance of gender equality.

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