Director Greta Gerwig achieved a significant milestone with the release of Barbie, marking the most substantial opening for a female director. The movie, inspired by the iconic doll, bursts with vibrant colors and an unmistakably lively aesthetic. In this highly anticipated live-action film, Margot Robbie takes on the role of Stereotypical Barbie, whose once-perfect life is disrupted by inexplicable flat feet and existential contemplations. Alongside her, Ryan Gosling portrays Ken, embarking on a journey to uncover the truth behind her transformation. This quest ultimately leads Barbie into the Real World, where she encounters the girl who played with her and her mother, unveiling the stark disparities between the two realms.
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With a brilliantly crafted script by Gerwig and co-writer Noah Baumbach, Barbie seamlessly combines humor with astute social commentary, touching on topics like feminism and toxic masculinity. The movie’s most memorable quotes capture these elements, ranging from Ken’s humorous misconceptions to profound reflections on life. Additionally, the film features a poignant speech highlighting the daily challenges women confront, making it a standout moment in the narrative.
10. “When I found out the patriarchy wasn’t about horses, I lost interest anyway”
As Stereotypical Barbie embarks on her quest to uncover the mystery behind who’s playing with her, Ken decides to stow away in the back, bringing his rollerblades along for the ride. Together, they embark on a journey of discovery, unearthing the stark disparities between the Real World and Barbie Land. While Barbie is taken aback by these revelations, Ken diligently takes notes, absorbing the newfound knowledge. Upon their return to Barbie Land, he leverages this information to shift the balance of power from the Barbies to the Kens. Regrettably, the Barbies have been unwittingly influenced and follow along with the changes.
However, Ken’s motivations are more nuanced than they initially appear. He never intended to undermine Barbie completely. His desire was to gain Barbie’s attention and step out of her shadow. When Barbie confronts him about the transformation of Barbie Land, Ken admits that he never intended for things to escalate to such an extent. He merely had a strong fondness for horses, revealing a sense of innocence and vulnerability in his actions.
9. “Ask your mother”
Barbie opens with a captivating scene featuring young girls engrossed in playing with baby dolls, set against a backdrop that pays homage to the iconic sci-fi film, 2001: A Space Odyssey. The narrative, elegantly voiced by Helen Mirren, humorously comments that playing with dolls can be enjoyable, but only for a limited time. She playfully suggests, “Ask your mother,” as the girls gaze in wonder at the new Barbie before them – a Barbie rendition of A Space Odyssey’s enigmatic monolith – prompting them to gleefully shatter their baby dolls.
This line carries a witty undertone, subtly hinting at the challenges of motherhood as demanding yet rewarding. Simultaneously, it hints at how Barbie revolutionized the way dolls are played with, introducing a fresh perspective to doll play. It’s a subtle nod to the theme of motherhood, which resurfaces towards the conclusion of the film.
8. “Do you guys ever think about dying?”
In Barbie Land, everything unfolds in a flawless, picturesque manner. Stereotypical Barbie commences her day with an infectious smile, meticulously selecting the ideal ensemble, and savoring a flawless breakfast. Her hours are then spent basking in the sunshine at the beach alongside her fellow Barbies and Kens. As the evening descends, she graciously hosts a grand dance soirée within her impeccably designed Barbie Dreamhouse. However, it’s during this soiree that Barbie’s perfectly scripted days take a rather unexpected turn when she spontaneously utters, ‘Do you guys ever think about dying?’ – a moment that marks the shift in Barbie’s perception of her seemingly idyllic life.
This humorous instance is skillfully orchestrated, juxtaposing the existential query with upbeat music and a meticulously choreographed dance routine. It serves as a pivotal moment that foreshadows the movie’s journey, deftly blending humor with more profound contemplations on life’s complexities.
7. “Thanks to Barbie, all problems of feminism have been solved”
In Barbie Land, the iconic dolls are the embodiment of success, having achieved remarkable feats in various fields like writing, medicine, and politics. Their reality is one where there is no concept of unfulfilled potential, and it leads the narrator to confidently proclaim, ‘all problems of feminism have been solved.’
However, this idealized perception is soon shattered as the story unfolds, revealing the stark disparity between Barbie Land and the Real World. In the latter, things are markedly distinct, and not everyone shares the same rosy perspective. Sasha, notably the girl who once played with the stereotypical Barbie, holds the opposing viewpoint, arguing that Barbie’s influence has been detrimental to women. This divergence in perspectives sparks a thought-provoking exploration of the complexities surrounding feminism and the impact of iconic cultural figures like Barbie.
6. “You’ve been making women feel bad about themselves since you were invented”
Stereotypical Barbie’s quest leads her to the girl she presumes is playing with her, initially believed to be the young Sasha, portrayed by Ariana Greenblatt. However, Barbie’s encounter with Sasha takes an unexpected turn. Sasha not only reveals that she has moved beyond playing with Barbie but also expresses strong criticisms of the doll’s influence.
Sasha’s reaction to Barbie mirrors real-life critiques of the iconic doll and underscores the diverse perceptions people have of her. While Barbie Land may portray a world where girls are in control, for individuals like Sasha, Barbie represents an outdated stereotype that, instead of empowering women, perpetuates harmful norms.
5. “That’s life. It’s all change”
After the startling revelation of Sasha’s disinterest in Barbie, it turns out that it’s not Sasha but rather her mother, Gloria, played by America Ferrera, who has been engaging with Barbie all along. This discovery sheds light on Barbie’s existential contemplations about life and its transience. The three women return to Barbie Land together, only to find out the alterations that Ken has introduced in their absence.
In her role as a mother, Gloria imparts valuable words of wisdom to Barbie. She emphasizes the inevitability of change in life, encompassing both profound transformations as people transition from childhood to adulthood and the subtler adjustments in appearance and daily routines.
4. “It is literally impossible to be a woman”
While confronting the changes that Ken has imposed on their world, Gloria delivers an impassioned and thought-provoking speech on the complexities and contradictions that women face, encompassing everything from societal standards regarding physical appearance to expectations for personality traits. Her words resonate deeply and remarkably, ultimately breaking the Kens’ brainwashing, galvanizing the Barbies to strategize and liberate other brainwashed Barbies, thus reclaiming control over Barbie Land.
This moment stands out as one of Ferrera’s most compelling performances in the film and a highlight of the overall narrative. Not only does it reinforce the movie’s feminist theme, but it also propels the plot forward, serving as the pivotal key to unraveling the brainwashing spell.
3. “We mothers stand still so our daughters can look back and see how far they have come”
As Barbie frantically navigates the labyrinthine corridors of the Mattel offices in a bid to escape, she stumbles upon a cozy kitchen where she encounters an older woman. This woman is later revealed to be the illustrious Barbie creator, Ruth Handler, portrayed by Rhea Perlman. Their initial interaction is brief, but it foreshadows Ruth’s impending visit to Barbie Land towards the end of the film, where she imparts valuable wisdom to Barbie, echoing the sentiments of Gloria.
Ruth’s conversation with Barbie circles back to the overarching theme of motherhood. Ruth serves as a motherly figure to Barbie, not just because she’s the doll’s creator, but because Barbie was inspired by Ruth’s own daughter, Barbara. Throughout their discussion, Ruth highlights the profound lengths mothers go to in order to create a better world for their daughters, often entailing significant sacrifices along the way.
2. “Humans only have one ending. Ideas live forever”
As the movie draws to a close, Barbie finds herself profoundly transformed by her journey. In a surreal, expansive white void, Barbie opens up to Ruth, admitting that she no longer feels like the same old Barbie and is uncertain about her path forward. It’s during this heartfelt exchange that Ruth imparts a line of wisdom: ‘Humans only have one ending. Ideas live forever.’
This moment stands as one of the film’s most emotionally resonant, highlighting the ephemeral nature of human existence and the enduring legacy of our ideas. It hints at the idea that, in her role as Barbie’s creator, Ruth possesses a form of immortality through the lasting impact of her creation.
1. “You’re beautiful”. “I know.”
Stereotypical Barbie & The Woman on the Bench
Barbie’s initial encounter with the Real World proves to be a bit overwhelming, prompting her to seek solace on a bench. Nearby, she spots an elderly woman, portrayed by Ann Roth, and offers a warm compliment, telling her she’s beautiful. The woman responds matter-of-factly, saying, ‘I know,’ but with a contented smile.
This moment is particularly powerful as it highlights Barbie’s journey of self-discovery. Despite her prior reaction to cellulite, there’s an expectation that she might be startled by the sight of wrinkles. However, Barbie surprises everyone, embracing the woman’s beauty and self-assured response. It serves as a poignant commentary on beauty standards and self-love.