In the 2023 movie Barbie directed by Greta Gerwig, the concept of female power and empowerment is prominent throughout. Who knew that a story about a doll can be so much more meaningful than we thought? It puts a feminist perspective on the society we live in and how women are more than just a pretty face and have multiple hats to wear in order to fit into the modern day standards.
The film starts with a day in the life of Barbie (played by Margot Robbie) in her Barbieland. She is picture perfect, flawless and goes about the daily tasks of her ordinary life. She has the perfect body, is well mannered and fits into the stereotypical role of Barbie. She lives in a fantasy land where women can do anything with their careers; they can be lawyers, doctors and even the President! And then, there is Ken (played by Ryan Gosling) who is just a guy who has a crush on Barbie but can’t get her to go out with him. He sings about being in the shadows, and tries very hard to get Barbie to pay attention to him. When he feels neglected and outcasted, he creates his own mens club and they try to take over Barbieland.
The plot twist happens when Barbie, all of a sudden, feels depressed and gets flat feet, ruining her picture perfect image. She is feeling human emotions and doesn’t know why she is sad all the time. As she ventures into the real world with Ken not far behind, she realizes that something is happening in the real world that is interfering with her life in Barbieland. She later finds out that Gloria (played by America Ferrera), a mother who started playing with her daughter’s old Barbie dolls, has been causing her to have an existential crisis. Together, Gloria, her daughter Sasha and Barbie go on an adventure together as they try to escape from the Mattel executives who are trying to put Barbie back into a toy box.
When Barbie successfully arrives back in Barbieland, she realizes that the other Barbies have returned to their submissive roles and Barbieland is ruled by the Kens. When Barbie fails to convince everyone to return to the old world, Gloria gives a powerful speech about society’s conflicting expectations of women, which restores Barbie’s confidence. Soon enough, Gloria’s speech lifts the Barbies from their oppression and the Barbies regain their power. Barbieland returns to its original state and Barbie and Ken apologize to each other. However, Barbie is still not sure about her identity and meets Ruth Handler in spirit, the creator of the Barbie doll and Mattel’s co-founder. She finds out that Barbie’s story is a work in progress and that she is evolving as society evolves.
As the movie comes to a close, Barbie decides to become human and returns to the real world. Overall, this movie is a beautiful masterpiece with colourful set designs and gorgeous costumes. The film is filled with vibrant colours and a hauntingly beautiful song by Billie Eilish called “What Was I Made For”. The comedic parts are quite funny to watch as well, as Mattel’s CEO (played by Will Ferrell) tries to recapture Barbie with no luck. If you are interested in a light hearted comedy with some feminist themes, this film is for you!
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