Movie Review: Barbie (English) On the whole, BARBIE is a vibrant entertainer.

Barbie (English) Review {3.5/5} & Review Rating

BARBIE is the story of a doll who suffers a crisis. Stereotypical Barbie (Margot Robbie) lives in Barbieland, a matriarchal society along with other Barbies. Life is quite content as all the Barbie residents are confident and successful. They run the society and government with ease. The Ken residents, meanwhile, engage in recreational activities at the beach. Ken (Ryan Gosling) is in love with Stereotypical Barbie but the latter doesn’t reciprocate his feelings. All is going well until one day, Stereotypical Barbie realizes that she has developed flat feet and is getting thoughts about death. She also develops cellulite. She approaches Weird Barbie (Kate McKinnon), an outcast, who suggests that she should travel to the Real World to find out the kid who’s playing with her. Weird Barbie believes that the child, who owns the doll, is struggling in real life and this is affecting Stereotypical Barbie. She leaves for the Real World and is accompanied by Ken when he hears that she wishes somebody accompanies her on this trip. Stereotypical Barbie reaches the Real World and her world comes crashing down. Ken, too, gets a reality check. What happens next forms the rest of the film.


Greta Gerwig and Noah Baumbach’s story is a masterstroke. The manner in which the writers have done justice to the iconic doll and also incorporated feminist themes is seen to be believed. Greta Gerwig and Noah Baumbach’s screenplay is highly entertaining. They have spoken about serious issues but have not compromised on entertainment. They have peppered the film with sufficient funny and crazy moments. The dialogues are terrific and some of them are sure to induce claps and hoots.

Greta Gerwig’s direction does justice to the excellent plot at hand. She has kept the mood very light even though the film gets emotional in some places. The Barbie doll has a huge fan following and care has been taken that the brand doesn’t get hurt. Just like the LEGO MOVIE series, the unique characteristics of the Barbie toy set have been neatly incorporated into the narrative. At the same time, the way Greta has taken a funny dig at the manufacturing company, Mattel, is hilarious. But what one takes away from the film are its comments on patriarchy and women empowerment. It is unexpected and will be lapped up by the target audience.

On the flipside, the whole angle of the real world influencing life in Barbieland and vice versa is a bit difficult to understand. The fight at the beach in the pre-climax is imaginative but also random. It doesn’t induce laughs as intended. Lastly, the climax is difficult to digest and will leave audiences divided. Nevertheless, it leaves scope for a sequel.

Speaking of performances, Margot Robbie looks every inch like a Barbie doll. She owns the character and one can see that she’s having fun with it. She also shines in the emotional sequences. Ryan Gosling is terrific. Ken is miles away from anything else he has done before. But he effortlessly slips into his character. Kate McKinnon leaves a mark. America Ferrera (Gloria) is the surprise of the film. Her monologue is one of the highpoints. Will Ferrell (Mattel CEO) is too good. The other actors who do well are Issa Rae (President Barbie), Sharon Rooney (Lawyer Barbie), Simu Liu (Ken), Ariana Greenblatt (Sasha) and Rhea Perlman (Ruth Handler).

Music is neatly incorporated into the narrative. ‘Pink’ is catchy and has a Disney animation film feel. ‘Barbie World’ and ‘I’m Just Ken’ are also well-tuned. Mark Ronson and Andrew Wyatt’s music is in sync with the film’s mood and theme. Rodrigo Prieto’s cinematography is neat. Sarah Greenwood’s production is beautiful and imaginative. The Barbieworld, especially, is very appealing. Jacqueline Durran’s costumes are absolutely gorgeous and spot-on. It is sure to become a rage. VFX is top-class. Nick Houy’s editing is fine.

On the whole, BARBIE is a vibrant entertainer and it also makes an important comment on patriarchy and women empowerment. At the box office, it is all set for a fine opening. If the womenfolk and the family audience accept the film wholeheartedly, it has the potential to emerge as the biggest non-dubbed Hollywood grosser in India.

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