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Movie Review – Barbie

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Let me start by apologizing for not giving this movie the thoughtful review it deserves. I lack the time and the talent to achieve that. I enjoyed Barbie for the humor and snarky, sometimes subversive, pop-culture references. I loved Barbie for its insight and playful criticism that is inspiring to be more cognizant of my own role in how women are treated.

A Difficult Task

It occurred to me toward the last third of the movie that it was going to be hard to wrap it up in a way that empowered Barbie but didn’t do so at the expense of Ken. Doing so would only perpetuate one gender diminishing the other. The writers, Greta Gerwig and Noah Baumbach, did a great job addressing that. Ken didn’t get exactly what he wanted, but I think the relationship dynamic worked out the only satisfactory way it could in a  reasonable/adult manner.

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That is definitely not the norm for Hollywood movies these days. All too often any movie that features women’s empowerment comes from really horrible writing. I’m thinking about Indian Jones and the Dial of Destiny, all of the Rise of Skywalker trilogy, and dozens of other movies not worth remembering. Movies like that empower women by just switching the roles around and making the female lead strong and the male supporting role weak. That doesn’t exactly get us (society) where we need to be.

Barbie did it the right and smart way.

Barbenhiemer

I find it interesting that movies about the Barbie doll and the atomic bomb were released on the same day. Both are about objects that had tremendous unintended consequences.. Obviously the Barbie doll wasn’t created to make women’s self-image worse, but it certainly did. And in the process, “a Barbie” became a derogatory eponym for a woman. And in many ways, the atomic bomb wasn’t used for the purpose it was initially created—to end the war with the Germans. There’s no way to know what the world would be like had neither of those objects been created. It isn’t like the Barbie doll was the original source for women’s poor self-image, but today the Barbie doll is recognized as the icon of poor self-image and how to improve it. The impact of the atomic bomb, and later the H-bomb, has been far more wide-reaching than the two times it was used in war. For better or worse, the bombs define the world we live in today. On the bright side, there hasn’t been another world war since WWII. Without the bombs who knows how the cold war would have worked out.

Even though we might wish neither of these objects ever existed, the world today may be a better place for it. But it took a lot of suffering to get here. I just hope we can make it worth it.

Grade: A

About The Peetimes: I think the 3rd Peetime is the best. It’s a very long music/fight montage. Because there are so many characters named Barbie or Ken we tried to add the actor’s name first so you can differentiate.

There are extra scenes during, or after, the end credits of Barbie.

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Rated: (N/A) Suggestive References | Brief Language
Genres: Adventure, Comedy, Fantasy
Starring: Margot Robbie, Ryan Gosling, Dua Lipa
Director: Greta Gerwig
Writer(s): Greta Gerwig, Noah Baumbach
Language: English
Country: United States, United Kingdom

Plot
To live in Barbie Land is to be a perfect being in a perfect place. Unless you have a full-on existential crisis. Or you’re a Ken.

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Comments

2 responses to “Movie Review – Barbie”

  1. It’s not often I’m opposite from you, Dan. I sure am this time!

    Barbie was a huge fail for me. The casting, overall bright colors, wardrobes, and accessories were wonderful!
    The script, however, was not. I’m a fan of Greta Gerwig, so I was really disappointed I couldn’t like this film more. It was just so flat to me. My 30-yr. old niece loved it, so I figured I wasn’t the target audience. I couldn’t wait to leave…AND take all those little girls who were in the theatre dressed up in pink with me. They seemed equally bored…or confused…or something, because their levels of excitement were very few and far between throughout.

    In my comments after your Oppenheimer review, I stated my overall Barbenheimer weekend a C.

    If Oppenheimer was the solid A, that makes Barbie a D (by the skin of its teeth).

  2. Cynthia Logan Avatar
    Cynthia Logan

    Dan, I met you once in East Lansing, Michigan. I am an author and I offered to help you finish those novels… I’ve been writing screenplays too, but have yet to sell one.

    I still love your app and tell everyone about it.

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