Margot Robbie as Stereotypical Barbie in "Barbie" (2023). Photo courtesy of Warner Bros. Discovery

‘Barbie’ by Greta Gerwig: A masterful & worthy adaptation of the beloved toy

3 mins read

Adapting an established Intellectual Property (IP), book or game for the big screen or TV requires a level of dedication and sincerity that few creators can achieve. Understanding the essence of the source material and how it resonates with the audience is key to a successful adaptation. Fortunately, Greta Gerwig’s rendition of Barbie is a shining example of this, avoiding the pitfalls that often plague such experiments. 

From the moment the film begins, it becomes evident that every aspect of “Barbie” is carefully crafted to create a beautiful and captivating experience. The production design, colors, costumes and music all come together to form a personal-positive-feminist-energy space, appealing to a wide range of viewers. 

The cast of “Barbie” is nothing short of stellar. Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling bring their A-game to the live-action doll film, while Kate McKinnon’s portrayal of Weird Barbie, Simu Liu as Ken, and Michael Cera as Allan add depth and charm to the story. It’s always a delight to see Dua Lipa and John Cena in anything and everything as well.

Emma Mackey as Barbie, Simu Liu as Ken, Margot Robbie as Stereotypical Barbie, and Ryan Gosling as Ken in “Barbie” (2023). Photo courtesy of Warner Bros. Discovery

At the heart of the film’s success is Greta Gerwig’s visionary direction. She skillfully captures the essence of “Barbie,” making her more than just a plastic doll but rather a symbol of empowerment and representation.

The script, co-written by Gerwig and Noah Baumbach, cleverly incorporates nods to pop culture from Stanley Kubrick to Zack Snyder, and even pays homage to Simu Liu’s internet fame through memes, all while skillfully addressing and challenging stereotypes. 

“Barbie” is unequivocally a film made by women, for women, and about women.

Gerwig’s unique perspective on the world infuses the movie with a genuine frustration from a woman’s point of view. 

Margot Robbie as Stereotypical Barbie in “Barbie” (2023). Photo courtesy of Warner Bros. Discovery

The political commentary as a whole on women, feminism and patriarchy makes the film an engaging watch with the perfect comedic punches. It’s rare in cinema these days to have such genuine comedy, maybe because mainstream is more exposed to an unnecessary formulaic form.

The Barbieland set itself is a masterpiece, showcasing both extravagance and artistry. It cleverly acknowledges the essence of toys while transitioning smoothly to the real world, providing insightful commentary on feminism and its implications in society. Although some may not appreciate rants, the film’s ability to provide a space for expression is commendable.

America Ferrera as Gloria and Ariana Greenblatt as Sasha

It boldly explores the idea that feminism, at times, might be employed as a marketing move rather than a true empowerment for women. 

America Ferrera’s monologue absolutely nails what it tries to do and move the story forward perfectly with the frustration being rewarded in the end as everyone, not just Barbies or women, start to understand what it is to be human. Barbie truly captures the essence of what she was truly perceived to be by the masses—an inspiration.

Margot Robbie as Stereotypical Barbie in “Barbie” (2023). Photo courtesy of Warner Bros. Discovery

From relationships to self-worth, “Barbie” addresses various themes from a woman’s perspective, portraying genuine sweetness and understanding.

While the theme regarding men might not be as gripping for all audiences, it remains a valid point of view worth exploring. The patriarchy hasn’t completely ended. I personally believe the patriarchy is one of the reasons why our generation remains bound to old beliefs. It’ll be interesting to see how the world evolves and how the film’s state of relevancy plays out in the future.

Ryan Gosling as Ken and Margot Robbie as Stereotypical Barbie in “Barbie” (2023). Photo courtesy of Warner Bros. Discovery

The film’s acknowledgement of Mattel as the existing entity in Barbie Land is a standout moment, showcasing the evolution of Barbie’s identity and its correlation with the changing societal perception of women. It’s amazing to see how Barbie and Ken both have their arcs and end up wanting to explore what it means to be oneself.

Despite its many positive aspects, “Barbie” isn’t without minor flaws. The inclusion of Sasha as a character feels somewhat forced and could have been better integrated into the narrative. 

“Barbie,” directed by Greta Gerwig, is an absolute gem in the realm of movie adaptations. With its thought-provoking commentary and considerable insights from a woman’s perspective, the film deserves a solid rating of 4/5.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Gerwig’s vision and execution demonstrate that when handled with sincerity and dedication, even an iconic IP like Barbie can be brilliantly reimagined for the modern audience even with stereotypes. 

Jainam Turakhia

Jainam Turakhia has been a fan of DC for as long as he can remember, but what really tickles his inner creativity is Zack Snyder's vision for the DC Universe. From there Turakhia has traveled to a lot of destinations exploring works of other artists who make movies or write books/comics. Zack Snyder however, is always his hometown. He loves watching, and analyzing, anything and everything. Still a student from India studying Chartered Accountancy, Turakhia's passion for stories doesn't seem to end.

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