Barbie: Life in Plastic is Fantastic
From the moment we first saw Margot Robbie’s Barbie float down from her dream house to meet Ryan Gosling’s Ken, we knew Barbie would be this year’s big summer blockbuster and one of the biggest movies of 2023.
The character of Barbie first appeared in Toy Story 2, acting both as product placement and expansion of the series’ universe. This role was expanded upon greatly in the movie’s sequel, with said follow up entry introducing the character of Ken to the big screen. News of the brand having its very own movie, however, has had a rocky history of development hell dating back to 2009. After many changes in management, cast, and crew, more news on the film’s active development finally broke in 2021. Director Greta Gerwig (Lady Bird, Little Women) was first announced to be working on the project with her partner and frequent collaborator, Noah Baumbach.
Gerwig and Baumbach come together to tell a story in Barbie that is equal parts empowering and heartbreaking while paying massive respects to the brand upon which the film is based. Almost all Barbies get representation, so there’s no need to worry whether or not your favorite made the cut. There’s even lesser known characters such as Michael Cera’s Alan, as well as deep cuts like the Barbies and Kens who reside with Kate McKinnon’s “Weird Barbie” (no spoilers here, but they all do an amazing job and their costume design nails it!)
Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling’s performances as Barbie and Ken are stellar throughout the film, achieving a near perfect balance of emotional revelations and comedic relief in their scenes. The script is written from a place of love for the Barbie name, while also being a bit more mature and existential than you’d expect from a film about the dolls. This is far from being a deficit to the film—it’s definitely a movie made for those who’ve grown up with or knowing Barbie, so expect some more adult themes to peek in every so often.
Barbie is now playing in theaters worldwide.