We’re opening the year with a humdinger of an enjoyable movie. Throw out all your prejudices and come with an open mind and see what Greta Gerwig, actor, writer and director of independent and big budget films (Frances Ha, Ladybird, Little Women, makes of the icon that is Barbie. You may well be surprised. Look, she even casts against type: Margot Robbie is in her 30s and Ryan Gosling is in his 40s and both are known for intelligent performances in a wide range of films. Gosling in particular is having a ball, camping up Ken.
Barbie, the most popular of all the Barbies in Barbieland, begins experiencing an existential crisis. She must travel to the human world in order to understand herself and discover her true purpose. Her kinda-sorta boyfriend, Ken, comes along for the ride because his own existence depends on Barbie acknowledging him. Both discover harsh truths—and make new friends –along the road to enlightenment. This is a movie that acknowledges Barbie’s unrealistic physical proportions—and the kinds of very real body issues they can cause in young girls—while also celebrating her role as a feminist icon. This is also a movie in which Mattel (the doll’s manufacturer) and Warner Bros. (the film’s distributor) at least create the appearance that they’re in on the surprisingly pointed jokes at their expense.
Venue: William Loveless Hall