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Barbie (2023)

Barbie and Ken are having the time of their lives in the colorful and seemingly perfect world of Barbie Land. However, when they get a chance to go to the real world, they soon discover the joys and perils of living among humans.
4.2 / 5
INCLUVIE SCORE
4.3 / 5
MOVIE SCORE
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Black
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Incluvie Movie Reviews


Andrew Joseph Tanner
September 17, 2023
4.5 / 5
INCLUVIE SCORE
4.5 / 5
MOVIE SCORE

'Barbie' is Pop Feminism - That is a Fact, Flaw, and Strength all at Once

This article is in direct response to Atreyo Palit's Negative Reactions to ‘Barbie’ Reveal the Pressure of Representation. My intention is to explain what accusations of white feminism entail and show what a more nuanced response might look. I greatly respect my fellow Incluvie writer and friend.

Barbie is a billion dollar film that has set the cinematic world ablaze. There are nonsense "hot" takes aplenty: Barbie is apparently the harbinger of the end to the superhero film era, traditional masculinity, and "serious" filmmaking among other things. Suddenly the success of films that rely on brand recognition and marketing aren't "real" successes, but films riding on an actor's star power or director's prestige are apparently A-OK! There are also those who seem to suddenly have developed false meritocracy and decided that a film grossing a billion dollars is proof positive of its technical mastery. I say all this to say that nonsense critiques motivated by powerful concoctions of ignorance and political motivations come with the territory of predatory capitalism, the Dunning-Kruger effect, and patriarchy.

However, pointing out the white feminism aspect of Barbie is a valid observation (an argument of it being a critique is not my position but it is understandable). Firstly, white feminism is another aspect/term for mainstream feminism. Like most western things, mainstream feminism is tied to the feminism of traditional cishet white people, in this case specifically, white women. It is not mean-spirited nor misinformed to point out the centering of whiteness in mainstream feminism. The streamlined #GirlBoss digestible feminism of Barbie mirrors mainstream feminism. This acknowledgement does not diminish the great works of feminists who happen to be white whom understand intersectionality and issues beyond the surface of mainstream feminism. Everyone is the center of their world, but not everyone's world has been centered. Along with privilege comes critique. It may be natural for cishet white women to center themselves in their feminism, but it is also natural for women and femmes outside that tiny sliver to address their general erasure.

The nuance of intersectionality introduced by Black feminism (often nicknamed the Voice of the Voiceless Voices) is its hallmark. When critics observe that Barbie displays white feminism, they are simply pointing this out to viewers the same way one might mention gore, overt religious overtones, or other aspects that will affect one's viewing experience. To the extent that some critics argue this observation as a critique, it is a strong stance in the context of the unending centering of white women in the feminist landscape. It is valid to say that this film is in the perspective of a cishet white woman. It is valid to say that the movie goes for a streamlined #GirlBoss / Pink Boss aesthetic in lieu of a graduate school level rendering of feminism. Personally, I simply say that movies are not essays when people complain about commercial products failing arbitrary academic rigor tests (unless people champion said film as a triumph of some field, than all bets are off and critique is warranted).

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Josh Halpern
August 11, 2023
4 / 5
INCLUVIE SCORE
4 / 5
MOVIE SCORE

The Fantastic World of ‘Barbie’

As a child, I was always enthralled by toy commercials, especially, those for action figures. They all had a similar format of children manipulating dolls within little plastic sets (usually replicas of castles, caves, and dungeons that may or may not be sold separately).There was always a cutaway of a slack-jawed kid in disbelief at how awesome the figures were.As a child, these carefully constructed scenes felt immersive and fun and made me want the toy of course! That was the point after all.

I think a lot of us have special relationships with toys.Boomers were the first generation of children from the burgeoning (and since obsolete) middle class to benefit from their parents' disposable income.This combined with the development of cheap production methods and the advent of plastic and rubber, saw an entire industry born specifically targeted to youths.It started with magazine ads and quickly moved over to the TV screen where Saturday morning cartoons became launching off points for products marketed directly to kids.More often than not those products were toys.

I believe Boomers wanted for their children what they pined for as youths themselves.Toys, toys, and more toys.As a child, I spent countless hours after school and on the weekends playing with my X-Men and Power Rangers figurines. There’s a familiar, sentimental feeling even now as I recall those early formative years with my collection of play items.A feeling successfully captured in Toy Story.

Which brings me to Barbie.This movie could have easily been a bust.It could have turned into a poor, shallow, uninteresting dud.Or been a mess of an IP (intellectual property) adapted for the screen.There’s a reason you don’t remember titles like GI Joe and Power Rangers. Then there are those you wish you could forget like the Transformers sequels and Masters of the Universe (that’s right. A deep dive and one that I actually kind of appreciate in its own way).

This is different.Written by Greta Gerwig and Noah Baumbach, Barbie is a thought-provoking, highly original film.It acts somewhat like a trojan horse: taking a popular brand and infusing it with deeper ideas. It tackles heavier topics in a way that is not burdensome for the audience or preachy in intent.There’s a lightness throughout, both in color and tone, that simply makes serious subjects like toxic masculinity, objectification of women, and the drab effects of commercialism easier to digest and comprehend.

This movie is also a spectacle.A high budget visual feast for the eyes.Barbie is filled with big dance numbers, large colorful set pieces, bright costumes, beautiful people, and catchy original songs.In a way, it’s a throwback to the old musicals from Hollywood’s past like Singin’ in the Rain, The Wizard of Oz and An American in Paris.While those films largely lacked the irony embedded in Barbie, they were at their core monumental cinematic events with size, ambition, and visual flare. Much of it being live-action (like the aforementioned toy commercials).

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Bonnie Mukherjee
July 13, 2023
4 / 5
INCLUVIE SCORE
4.5 / 5
MOVIE SCORE

It's 'Barbie' (2023)

Barbie is a 2023 live-action movie that is based on the popular animated movie series and the toy line of the same name. The title character is a stereotypical teenage blonde, with long hair and wears her signature pink outfits and accessories. Her boyfriend, Ken, has a major role in the film. Margot Robbie plays Barbie.

From looking at various scenes, viewers can easily distinguish the Barbie World and the Real World. The Barbie World is described as a perfect happy ending and resembles a typical California vibe. The Real World is a picture of reality in America: a cold, cold world. The shoes Barbie wears on her feet symbolize the two worlds. The pink high-heeled shoes symbolize the Barbie World. The brown shabby shoes resemble the Real World. The differences between the two worlds show viewers the experience of being in a perfect daydream all the time versus being in reality.

Barbie also has a lot of blonde jokes and references. Teen girl movies such as Legally Blonde, Mean Girls, and Sleepover are heavily referenced in many scenes. One scene shows a close-up camera angle of Barbie walking and taking off her high-heeled shoes; viewers see how her feet are in a perfect high-heeled shape with her heels off the ground. In fact, the title character herself fits the archetype of the typical teenage blonde girl protagonist. Barbie has a hot boyfriend, has no clue about life outside of Barbie World, and has a hot pink sports car. All of the buildings and locations are based on the doll sets in the Barbie toy line.

Viewers see a strong representation of women in this movie based on the famous (or infamous by turns) Barbie. Greta Gerwig directs the live-action romp and brings a feminine perspective to the cinema.

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Movie Information


Barbie and Ken are having the time of their lives in the colorful and seemingly perfect world of Barbie Land. However, when they get a chance to go to the real world, they soon discover the joys and perils of living among humans.

Rating:PG-13
Genre:Comedy, Adventure
Directed By:Greta Gerwig
Written By:Noah Baumbach, Greta Gerwig
In Theaters:7/21/2023
Box Office:$1,445,638,421
Runtime:114 minutes
Studio:LuckyChap Entertainment, Heyday Films, NB/GG Pictures, Mattel, Warner Bros. Pictures

Cast


Director

Greta Gerwig

Director

noImg
cast

Margot Robbie

Barbie

cast

Ryan Gosling

Ken

cast

America Ferrera

Gloria

cast

Kate McKinnon

Barbie

cast

Ariana Greenblatt

Sasha

cast

Simu Liu

Ken

cast

Will Ferrell

Mattel CEO

cast

Michael Cera

Allan

cast

Helen Mirren

Narrator (voice)

cast

Issa Rae

Barbie

cast

Alexandra Shipp

Barbie