Have You Watched Barbie? (My Thoughts)

I had high hopes for the Barbie movie after watching the trailer and seeing reviews roll in. But my expectations were exceeded by just how good the movie is. I highly recommend donning your finest pink outfit and going to see it in the theater.

I saw Barbie in a packed theater at the Alamo Drafthouse, including 9 friends–all in pink–who were really excited about the movie. The drinks, the food, and the outfits all added to the atmosphere, but it also could have spelled doom if the movie wasn’t good.

Fortunately, the movie was great. It has plenty of humor, and every cast member takes the material seriously. I think that’s the only way a movie like this could work, because it’s not a silly toy movie. Also, the Barbie-world set is absolutely amazing. I could have spent the entire movie there. I hope it still exists for real somewhere on a studio lot.

As funny as it is, it’s also deeply character driven and it features powerful messages about society, messages that are important for people of all genders to take to heart. There’s a speech that is so important that I want to listen to it multiple times (the transcript is here). It hits home from beginning to end. I was in tears by the end of it, and I’m inspired by it.

It’s a marvel that this film exists. There are so many halfhearted ways a Barbie movie could exist, but instead we got a modern masterpiece that is just as entertaining as it is inspiring.

Plus, it was surprisingly fun to wear a specific outfit/color to a movie–I don’t think I’ve ever done that before. Have you?

4 thoughts on “Have You Watched Barbie? (My Thoughts)”

  1. I have not watched but I have a few thoughts about this movie. First of all I watched the trailer and it does not do justice to either the movie nor the message it’s trying to convey. The impression from the trailer was for a very hollow movie. But anyway after it came out I read about 50 reviews on imdb (mostly positive) and while I fully support the overall message of the movie of gender equality and women empowerment, I do not support the idea of a gender war or that fixing the problem means we have the demean each other, regardless of who’s doing it. So honestly I do not want my daughter to watch it at this point in her life, maybe when she’s much older and fully understands the context. I don’t want her to think that we live in a world of a war between genders and that one side has to win and the other lose. Again, this might be a narrow impression but that is my current thought of it. Personally I would watch it if I had any affinity to the barbie world but I do not.

    Reply
    • That’s an interesting perspective. I didn’t see the movie as endorsing or condoning a gender war; rather, I thought it talked about gender struggles and how the struggle for equality is real.

      Reply
  2. Oh gosh, we loved Barbie. We laughed, we cried, we talked about it for days afterwards. Much of the film’s praise and critique revolves around the heavy-handed messaging, but I think Greta and Noah packed their script with tons of nuance and complex, layered social commentary that drive the message and ramp up the entertainment. The set design, costumes, music, acting, directing, everything came together for a magnificent night at the movies, which we had not had in a long while.

    This movie inspired, educated, and fully exposed me – particularly during the montage of Barbies distracting Kens into mansplaining things. Jamey, I was breaking down filmmaking aspects of The Godfather to my wife MERE DAYS before we saw Barbie, feeling real great about my deep and profound understanding of the cine-world… All the times I’ve swooped in to be big-strong-tech-support husband, the singular glue that keeps all household devices running smoothly… Family budget conversations when my wife’s eyes glaze over, but knowing deep in my bones that if I explain it to her just so, she’ll light back up, eager to get lost in the weeds of APR’s and Mutual Funds with me…

    These scenes poke fun at my – at our – subconscious understanding to lead and guide because society has paved that path for us. Barbie highlights that as our weakness, and does it with humor and an undercurrent of respect and warmth. It’s cathartic and it’s a feat. I hope men in screenings of Barbie enjoy laughing at themselves, because this film creates the safe space to do so. To watch that montage, to feel my wife pinch my arm with each new example, to laugh with her, then to commit to growing as a husband – that’s my takeaway.

    I think the heaviest-handed parts of the movie were the little Chevrolet commercials interspersed throughout. I could have done with less obvious product placement, though I guess this is an entire movie about a Mattel IP.

    Barbie was not just a breath of fresh air, but an exceptionally crafted film, and I give it my highest recommendation. The Alamo Drafthouse also gets an extremely high recommendation from me – we’re lucky to have one in town now! We’re seeing Oppenheimer there tomorrow and I am expecting a wildly different theater experience, haha!

    Reply
    • I had no idea that Noah Baumbach co-wrote this movie! As much as I admire his work, his sense of humor is completely different than mine, and I haven’t made it through a few of his movies. But maybe I should give some of them a second try, because the humor in Barbie absolutely resonated with me.

      That’s amazing about The Godfather. 🙂 I know I’ve done the same thing (but for different movies), and I appreciate the movie highlighting that so I can learn from it. Same with finances and tech (but not guitar…I’m not musical at all).

      Reply

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