Barbie movie review: an elliptical allusion to a modern-day parody

Writer-director Greta Gerwig’s Barbie isn’t just a light comedy handcuffed in pink ribbons but rather an intensely weighted pastiche braced on the bosom of a patriarchal world, scraping the underbelly of antediluvian hierarchical hegemonies fearlessly. The long-awaited Barbie movie was a burning insinuation of feminist ideas for some while a propagandist damp firecracker for others. So the question that quivers all our minds is what makes Barbie an elliptical allusion to modern parody and also a childhood reminiscent?

The storyline plot of the Barbie movie

The entire storyline is based on the normative gender hierarchies and their aversion. Barbie is an embodiment of femininity, an entity to tick all the social standards only until there arises a discrepancy in her idealistic machinery. It is her exploration of invisible baggage in a matriarchal world and weighted mirages of a patriarchal world. Barbie’s dissension of fixing the discord in her microcosm turns into her joining the dots of the wider macrocosm. From the lavishing world of dreams to the grotesque reality of politics, the movie is completely a rollercoaster ride.

Barbie and Ken on an adventure together - Barbie Movie Review
Barbie and Ken on an adventure together – Barbie Movie Review

The deeper meanings in the Barbie movie (review)

Greta Gerwig’s attempt to showcase Barbie is a burlesque recreation of the image of a doll imprisoned in a cardboard box with a see-through wall. Her point of view is a seamlessly important one however as one beholds her anatomy the greater threat suspected is all the other gazes upon her. Margot Robbie cosplays the stereotypical Barbie who has been a scapegoat for deranging the idea of a “perfect” body image among young girls. As the movie begins we see an extremely jovial Barbie comfortably flattering in a matriarchal setup. But her tectonic plates crash when the fatal thoughts of death prevail in her apparatus. These thoughts of death have their semblance, any repudiated doll in a young girl’s toy box is a condescending memory of her childhood on a ventilator.

This is a metaphorical autopsy performed on her half-dead notion of a perfect pink world. It is where begins her itinerary to an oblique reality. Another interesting character in the movie is the weird Barbie, interestingly she becomes the stereotypical Barbie’s guide in taking up the ruthless path of raucous. The weird Barbie is a mortal sculpture of a subversive, unhinged, shapeless feminine entity with her lineaments of masculinity. We see her laying the onerous choice for the stereotypical Barbie between a crystal bedecked high heel and an ugly strappy sandal. Perhaps a visual representation of carrying both the continents of real and unreal worlds on our palms, a consistent tussle between opening our eyes to the blizzard or squinting them tight only to leave behind scars of a smudged mascara *literally Barbie’s scenarios of losing something regardless of her personal choices*

Barbie Movie Review cascades the figure of weird barbie
The weird Barbie guiding the stereotypical Barbie

The theme of motherhood under Spotlight

Barbie as a movie is a barefaced questioning of women’s agency in our bustling world. A clear collision of feminist obscurities and a chauvinistic suppression. It is a revolution clad in a salmon pink cloak rampaging in high heels. However, Barbie as a human figure is perhaps a motherless daughter left alone in a world where fathers carry a bag of selves. Lonely as she already was, a fluid spectrum of masks slaughters her identity. To market her rampantly as a business model, makes one introspect about a woman’s agency. She masticates her intestines, teething only to gnaw upon her flesh. That is why the scene where Barbie for the very first time notices a woman smothered in wrinkles and aging lines is so iconic. It is her liaison with the feeble beauty in every stage of life.

Maybe the eye contact she shares, the compliment slipping on her tongue, and the pregnant silence that sustains between them for a minute or so is such a cinematic masterpiece. Greta Gerwig has made sure to highlight motherhood as a paramount theme throughout her movie- “We mothers stand still so our daughters can look back to see how far they have come.”

Ryan Gosling's portrayal of Ken -
She's everything and he's just Ken (Barbie movie review)
She’s everything and he’s just KenBarbie movie review

Ken as a prop summing up the narrative

Another important element in the Barbie land is Ken. As the movie begins we see Barbie completely outweighing his presence. Later on, as he becomes her sidekick in this escapade, there exists a visible speculation of male-female partnerships. We see an enthusiastic Barbie taking hold of the steering wheel as he hops on the passenger seat, a medium of gender-bending. Ken’s sojourn in the real world is his discovery of its endocentric nature, which later becomes his translation or rather “trans-creation” of it. As he explores the value of men and the fact they sit on all the dominion saddles, his contemplation of gender politics transgresses his initial character sketch. Ken in the beginning is proudly a mere chaperon to Barbie but only after his return from a dogmatic web, does it begin to jeopardize his male ego.

In his soliloquy persists a dialogue between two opposite worlds, a dissection of his voice both as a ventriloquist and a puppet. The movie sums up itself in the most beautiful way, preaching the idea of loving bondage and freedom, also propagating the message that a chain is as strong as its weakest link (as it portrays Allan to be a vulnerable meekly masculine) Lastly we learn to understand that for Barbie to be everything has not to undermine the meager existence of Ken. For She’s everything and he is just Ken.

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Nitya Jain

    Was an absolute delight to read something so powerful, well criticised. Have been reading a lot of articles about the movie on the web but this one is my most favourite of all!

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