Barbie (2023)

Written by JP Hastings-Spital on July 29, 2023

This was an excellent film that left me emotionally stretched in just the right way. It's an adult movie with childhood references (not a kids' film at all), and seems pitched at people roughly my age (Matchbox 20 referenced as a track for wooing is too close for comfort!) It superbly voices the internal contradictions women need to navigate to be accepted. It works hard not to centre Ken, even while his role is a critical counterpoint, but also gives a little airtime to how much a male-dominated world makes it hard to be a man too.

The writing is out of this world, the pacing is spot on, and Margot Robbie utterly nails the role — especially the emotional and physical aspects of being a doll in a way that playfully nods to the many ways that children play with Barbie.

It's a wonderful film that I'd encourage everyone to see. It's hard to watch, as a man—feeling responsible for so many challenges women face—but Barbie doesn't judge, it voices. It's a message that informs me, helps me, as well as entertaining me, but it isn't meant for me; the extent to which Yvette felt seen, understood and perfectly spoken on behalf of is this movie, and why it deserves all the praise it's getting.

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