Life in plastic is truly fantastic as Greta Gerwig co-writes and directs Barbie, a fantasy comedy movie starring Margot Robbie as the iconic Mattel doll. It’s set in the utopian world of Barbieland filled with Barbies and Kens.
We’re introduced to this colorful world with Dame Helen Mirren’s narration and a loving tribute to 2001: A Space Odyssey. When Stereotypical Barbie (Robbie) begins to notice imperfections with herself, she travels to the real world with Ken (Ryan Gosling) for a journey of self-discovery.
This gleeful and goofy movie knows exactly what it is: a colorful, vibrant blast of indistinct nostalgia. You’ll want to live in this world of joy and magic, where dance numbers and blowout parties break out every few minutes. Gerwig’s imaginative world is sure to bring a smile to your face.
The attention to detail is brilliant. There are many parallels between Barbieland and how children play with Barbies in the real world. For example, there’s no water coming out of the shower, no liquid in any of their drinks, and Barbie floats down to her car because, let’s face it: no kid ever walked their Barbies down the stairs. This film offers off-the-wall comedy and a pop soundtrack that will fill your heart with happiness.
Barbie wears its influences on its sleeves. There’s a dash of The Truman Show here, a pinch of Elf there. There are even direct references to The Matrix. (Remember, Warner owns those!) However, these things are all wrapped in a surprisingly fresh package. So many unique qualities stand out, like the physics that aren’t “cartoon physics” but are instead “child playing with toys physics.”
Margot Robbie is pitch-perfect as Barbie. Other performers like Anne Hathaway and Amy Schumer nearly played the character, which is hard to imagine now. Warner struck gold with Robbie, who looks the part and leans into the larger-than-life role with cartoon-y glee. Robbie is no stranger to flexing her comedic chops — as seen with Birds of Prey — but she takes it to another level here. Ryan Gosling is also tremendous as Ken, with a sweet, dopey, manic energy that’s a little different from the heartthrob’s usual roles.
The meta nature of Barbie and how it tackles real-world issues with fantastical elements is incredible. Although the pop-feminist message can be a little trite, Barbie tackles gender norms with sharp and incisive satire. Lost and out of their element, Barbie and Ken square off against their first real villain: 21st century patriarchy. Marvel, move over — this is a popcorn spectacle brawl for the ages. Barbie confronts the issues women go through in the real world without holding back, while managing to be consistently entertaining throughout.
It’s the type of movies kids can fixate on from a young age and grow up with, like Josie and the Pussycats. The final act is an excessive amount of fun for everyone involved, from the actors on screen to the viewers in the audience. It’s the perfect movie to watch down the dour war crimes of Oppenheimer.
Barbie is a riot with an incredible script and stellar cast. Gerwig continues to solidify herself as one of the best filmmakers working today.
As ComingSoon’s review policy explains, a score of 9 out of Ken equates to “Excellent.” Entertainment that reaches this level is at the top of its type. The gold standard that every creator aims to reach.
Disclosure: ComingSoon attended a press screening for our Barbie review.