The Student News Site of Archmere Academy

The Green Arch

The Student News Site of Archmere Academy

The Green Arch

The Student News Site of Archmere Academy

The Green Arch

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[Review] Greta Gerwig’s “Barbie” is “Everything.”

Directed by Greta Gerwig (“Ladybird”, “Little Women”), “Barbie” premiered in the United States on July 12, 2023. The film raked in over $1 million within its first three weeks, making Gerwig the first female director to accomplish this feat, according to CNN. Highlighted by performances by Margo Robbie and Ryan Gosling, “Barbie” boasts a star-studded supporting cast including America Ferrera, Kate McKinnon, Will Ferrell, and Simu Liu. The movie also includes an acclaimed soundtrack with hits like “What Was I Made For?” by Billie Eilish and “Barbie World” by Nicki Minaj and Ice Spice, as well as Gosling’s viral “I’m Just Ken.” 

 

The film’s onset introduces viewers to the seemingly perfect –and very pink– world of Barbie Land. Stereotypical Barbie (Robbie) and her fellow Barbies live flawless lives and run the show, while Stereotypical Ken (Gosling) and the other Kens spend 90% of their time trying to win the Barbies over and the remaining 10% of their time fighting amongst themselves over the Barbies. But Barbie’s seemingly perfect world is suddenly turned upside down, and she and Ken must travel to the human world to set things right. In the real world, not only do Barbie and Ken encounter Gloria (Ferrera), Gloria’s daughter, Sasha (Ariana Greenblatt), and Mattel’s CEO (Ferrell), but set off a chain of events that threatens Barbie Land as they know it. External and internal conflicts ensue as Barbie suffers an identity crisis that leads her to question the world and her role in it.

 

In this star-studded cast, Margot Robbie, Ryan Gosling, and America Ferrera shine brightest. Robbie and Ferrera expertly handle complex emotional monologues and transformations, as Gosling aces the comedic aspect of the film, elevating every scene he’s in. Set and costume design are also exemplary, as was the film’s marketing.

 

“Barbie” succeeds in transforming a movie about a stereotypical toy into an exploration of feminism, the patriarchy, and our own identities. As Barbie embarks upon a voyage of self-discovery, viewers journey with her. The film’s broader conflict connects with audiences as well, especially women, as it explores female friendships, the patriarchy, and sexism; many viewers have found connection with Ferrara’s emotional monologue towards the end of the film about being a woman in today’s society. 

 

Some viewers have raised questions about Mattel’s commercial and material intentions regarding the film, as Barbie-related sales went through the roof after the film’s release, according to CNN. Additionally, the company has announced an upcoming slate of other brand films including Hot Wheels and Polly Pocket. However, Mattel’s commercial aims should be separated from the movie’s successes. Already possessing stellar performances and production, “Barbie” shines brightest in its exploration of women’s experiences and transformations in our modern world.

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About the Contributor
Elizabeth Maher '24, News & Managing Editor
Elizabeth is a senior at Archmere. She is serving as the paper's News and Managing Editor for the 2023-24 year. Besides the paper, she is involved with swim team, Tapestry, and Model UN at school. Outside of school, she enjoys spending time with friends, going to the beach, and listening to Taylor Swift.

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