The student news site of Bak Middle School of the Arts


The student news site of Bak Middle School of the Arts


The student news site of Bak Middle School of the Arts


Review: ‘Barbie’ accurately depicts the Ups and Downs of being a Woman

A review of the Barbie movie: the good and bad
Ryan Gosling, left, and Margot Robbie in “Barbie.” (Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures/TNS)

Barbie has been a quintessential feminine icon since 1959. But the summer blockbuster  by the same name, “Barbie,” has challenged everything people know about the doll. The film confronts the traditional roles and standards associated with the iconic doll and offers a fresh perspective on what it means to be a woman in today’s world. 


  The  “Barbie” movie was released on July 21 and was one of the biggest movies of the summer, grossing 1.4 billion dollars at the box office. The movie follows the original Barbie (Margot Robbie) and Ken (Ryan Gosling) in their seemingly perfect lives in Barbie Land. 


Everything is perfect, until    Barbie starts experiencing human-like phenomenon, like flat feet and dark thoughts.  To remedy this, Barbie and Ken go to the real world to find out what’s wrong with her, only to discover that the real world isn’t as “Pretty in Pink” as they thought.


The movie reflects on different female roles through the perspectives of a mom, a teenager and Barbie herself. Conversely, it also describes the antithesis of feminism: the patriarchy. There’s a huge contrast between how Barbie and Ken were before they left Barbie Land compared to when they returned. 


Before Barbie and Ken went to the real world, Barbie saw the world through rose-tinted glasses. Meanwhile,  Ken was oblivious to who he was, and he lived just to be with Barbie, who didn’t return his feelings.  Later on in the movie, when Ken comes back from the real world, he plagues “Barbie Land” with his newfound love of the patriarchy, rebranding it as “Kendom Land.”


In this arc of the movie, Greta Gerwig, director and writer of the film, showcases her talent in creating and developing a complex female character. We see a character who is supposed to be and has been, the standard of beauty for so many women across America, questioning her worth because she’s not perfect and is being controlled by the newfound patriarchy in “Kendom Land.”


Gerwig also shows how men are negatively affected by the patriarchy by showing Ken’s incredible inferiority complex that he hides behind his “Mojo Dojo Casa House” and rollerblades. This is also shown in his song “I’m Just Ken.” In the song he sings about how Barbie only sees him as a friend and doesn’t see him for who he is. In the movie, it’s subtly noted that Ken is having an existential crisis. His only job is to “beach,” which Ryan Gosling has constantly noted throughout the press tour for the film.


I thought that the song “I’m Just Ken” was not the best in the movie. It got the point across that Ken felt insecure and wanted to be seen by Barbie as more than just a surface-level friend. I just didn’t feel as connected to the meaning of it compared to the song “What Was I Made For” (Billie Eilish). 


There’s a lyric in this song that says “I’m sad again, don’t tell my boyfriend, that’s not what he’s made for.” This lyric heavily relates to Ken and Barbie’s relationship, in the way that after Ken takes over Barbie Land, Barbie can’t talk to him or find any traces of who he once was before he went into the real world.


In an interview with the television host and film critic, Andrew Freud, Gerwig said that since  Barbie is such a behemoth of a brand, she wanted it to show that it’s all just made by humans. Gerwig also said that every movie she makes has to have “film by” credits because it’s a collective art form all made by humans.


However, the movie did have outstanding qualities such as film, soundtrack and its ability to appeal to so many different walks of life. 


It did have its very questionable moments. For example, some of the scenes had very cringe millennial undertones. 


the Another critique I have about this movie is the scenes with “Weird Barbie” played by Kate Mckinnon. I thought the scenes with weird Barbie were very unnatural. 


To me, it came off as unnatural because the movie  mainly talked about how girls were supposed to support girls. I thought it was just counterintuitive how they all outcast her when the purpose of Barbie Land was that women could do anything.


Ultimately the movie is one of the best women-empowering movies that I’ve seen so far.  I would give it 4 out of 5 stars only because it just could’ve been a little better. Overall, it truly is a movie made for women about women and by a woman.

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