Greta Gerwig's Barbie Movie Review: Lacking the Spark of Entertainment

Prathyush Parasuraman

What Happened to Barbie?

Her human in the Real World, Gloria (America Ferrera), is osmotically giving Stereotypical Barbie these issues, because she herself is going through them, creating a rip in the space-time continuum that allows ideas, people and dolls to slip between Barbieland and the Real World.

Barbieland vs. Real World

The real world and Barbieland run on different logical fuel, and the Mattel boardroom, with a heart shaped table around which human men discuss dolls, floats somewhere between the two. You don’t have to know what is real because that question is rendered moot by the film’s flippance.

The Ideological Bankruptcy of Barbie

How can you both call out the fast feminism of Mattel while also embodying it? This is the shallow core of Barbie. Making fun of casting Margot Robbie as the Stereotypical Barbie Doll, while insisting on the impact of this kind of body being mainstreamed, for example. There is something uneasy here — an ideological bankruptcy.

Ironic Realities: Beauty, Desire, and Patriarchy

There is something ironic about these perfectly sexualized bodies — abs, an ample bosom — that are left to rot dry and sexless. These unrealistic standards of beauty which the film rails against are rooted in desire, but by merely rapping the knuckles of these standards and ignoring desire, the film makes its fight against the patriarchy look far more easy, far less matted, than it truly is.