For the past months, we’ve been bombarded with the plastic fantastic world of Barbie. Equally surrounded by mystery and polemic, the Greta Gerwig-directed movie starring Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling is finally in theatres. Is Barbieland as perfect, bubbly, and fun as we pictured? Yes, it is. Until it isn’t anymore. But the movie is a hilarious, critical, feminist, and vibrant story about the burden of being a woman in a male-dominated world.
As we saw in the first teaser of the movie, Barbie starts with a recreation of the beginning of Kubrik’s masterpiece 2001: A Space Odyssey, where Helen Mirren narrates how little girls who used to play with baby dolls thus aspiring to become mothers when they grew up were freed thanks to the most famous doll in contemporary history. After the Mattel-produced toy was released into the world over sixty years ago, little girls dreamed of being more than mothers; it let them imagine a future where it was possible for them to become astronauts, doctors, teachers – anything they wanted, really. Sounds ideal, doesn’t it? 
However, Barbie also became a symbol of the male gaze, of impossible beauty standards, of objectification, of shallowness. The stereotypical Barbie was just a blonde girl in pretty clothes, nice makeup, and a hot boyfriend named Ken. So how do you navigate this dichotomy between a referent that can be as powerful as the president of a nation and can reach outer space but is also a symbol of oppression and misogyny? Greta Gerwig (Lady Bird, Little Women) delves into this perfectly human contradiction through the 114 minutes of the film, which she co-wrote with her partner Noah Baumbach (Frances Ha, Marriage Story), and has a star-studded cast including Margot Robbie, Ryan Gosling, America Ferreira, Emma Mackey, Will Ferrell, Hari Nef, Dua Lipa, Simu Liu, John Cena, Kate McKinnon, Ariana Greenblatt, Michael Cera, Kingsley Ben-Adir, and Issa Rae. 
In Barbieland, nothing ever changes. Barbies and Kens (and Alan) live in peace and harmony in their dreamhouses, they’re always smiling, well-dressed, have fun, and support each other. Until Stereotypical Barbie starts to malfunction. Her radiant beauty and perfection start to dim as she thinks of death or cellulite. And then, her naturally high-heeled feet touch the ground – a funny, somehow stupid yet very powerful metaphor. After a quick visit to Weird Barbie, they come to the conclusion that the human playing with Barbie (Margot) is in trouble, so the doll has to leave her dreamworld, connect with her human, and make things right. To do so, she has to travel by car, plane, rocket ship, boat, snowmobile, campervan, tandem bike and rollerblade to Los Angeles. And Ken, as a supportive boyfriend, decides to join in by surprise.
I don’t want to give much away because everyone hates spoilers. But after they both get in touch with the real world (that being our world, the audience's world), things go awry. Ken discovers patriarchy, Barbie is catcalled, mansplained and tried to put in a box (literally) to send her packing. But she also comes across her human, a stellar America Ferreira, and her daughter who, in a nod to corporate competition, represents the Bratz dolls, the direct competitor of Barbie. 
From there, the movie is a hilarious critique of the world we live in and, more especially, the male-dominated society we’re in. It speaks about the impossibility of living as a woman and how they’re always blamed for everything and shamed for anything. It’s simple: whatever they do, they lose. They’re either too much or not enough. 
After watching Barbie, you’ll discover that life in plastic is indeed fantastic. However, in a visually stunning, self-reflective, and tongue-in-cheek way (especially in the last part, some of us were wondering how the heck did Mattel approve of this script that mocks and ridicules the giant company and its board of directors and investors), Greta Gerwing plants the seed of what all of us could do to make the world a more equitable, respectful, and fun place for everybody. 
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