Started by Jeremy Blackman, August 14, 2023, 12:08:20 AM

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Jeremy Blackman

Finally saw Barbie and loved it. It is so thoroughly a Greta Gerwig movie in the way very few IP/franchise films actually have their director's voice. Strangely was reminded of Little Women throughout.

Ryan Gosling was the standout for me. Margot Robbie is great and obviously perfectly-suited to the role, but if anything her performance might be a little too subtle. But maybe that's why the movie works. Not sure.

Will Ferrell (similarly?) is calibrated down a notch or two. He's not the cartoon villain you might expect.


I thought it was... fine. I liked the Jerry Lewis-style design of Barbieland. Robbie and Gosling both bring their A-game. Fun musical numbers. But the satire felt entirely toothless to me. I thought it fell between two stools: not edgy or risqué enough to be a comedy for adults, but too talky and hung up on delving into cultural discourse to appeal to children. Scenes in the real world and Mattel offices just a bit lame, in my opinion.

I feel like it won't age particularly well. I struggle to imagine that people will still look on it as fondly in 10 years time (especially if we've had a load of lacklustre sequels and spin-offs in the meantime).


Rudy's take is pretty squarely where I find myself after a few weeks to sit with Barbie. It's a little better than "fine"... but with time... ya, it's fine.


This iz an odd movie - and I think it's odd, and a bit messy, in a special way. Actually, Oppenheimer and Barbie were both messy in very enjoyable degrees of autuership. I love the old-hollywood spectacle of the Ken numbers. Every scene iz a production design delight. Margot Robbie might get nominated for a dang toy movie. Like, I think she should.

Earlier this year, a friend of mine got this as their syllabus in a film course
Spoiler: ShowHide

And I don't doubt that The Lego Movie has been trotted out in many classrooms for analysis.

Barbie has ambitions of Polemic. What warped my mind so much watching it (apart from the psychedelics I'd taken) was that its confident design felt so authentic I found myself rooting for its intentions. I don't think anyone could really sell the monologue, but America Ferrera is going to make many people feel understood. They're the contradictions of living, and perhaps it feelz like Feminism 101, but she's speaking to her daughter in the transition between girlhood and womanhood, a whirlwind I don't myself know.

For me the moments that hit the hardest were Barbie on the bench, and the void of Barbie w/ Ruth. I think I saw somebody on letterboxd mention this film feelz akin to Matrix Resurrections. It's like the subversion of the means-of-production to allow a film to Be What It Is and Interrogate the Means hand-in-hand.

Ryan Gosling, and all the Kens/Barbies, are so fucking good. I hope Hari Nef has a long career. I've been imitating the Barbie's dry-heaving for weeks.


In its defence, I enjoyed it more than I've enjoyed any Marvel movie since the first Ant-Man and Iron Man 3.

Jeremy Blackman

It's definitely a special movie. I still can't fully articulate what I love about what Greta Gerwig does, but she touches a nerve in a way that wrecks me, which was taken to a new intensity in Little Women and is still somehow happening here.


The delivery of that monologue felt rushed to me, and it made me reconsider how well the film was selling its message... but the ensuing minutes sort of quickly redeemed it section by section.


'Barbie' Co-Writer Noah Baumbach Initially Thought Film Was a 'Terrible Idea,' but Greta Gerwig 'Signed Me Up': 'You've Gotta Get Us Out of This'

QuoteBecause she'd arrived just in time to share her side of the story, Gerwig detailed all the reasons Baumbach said they shouldn't take the gig: "'There's no character and there's no story, so why do you want to do this? There's no entry point.' And he'd do, like, side calls to try to get us out of it."

But Baumbach's attitude changed during the pandemic when Gerwig presented him a couple of pages illustrating her idea.

"It was Barbie waking up in her Dreamhouse and coming out to her backyard and meeting somebody who was sick and dying," Baumbach said. "I read these pages and I thought, 'I understand now what this is.' ... The movie is about embracing your mortality and about the mess of it all, so it was exciting."

From there, the process became one of trying to "amuse each other and one up each other," Baumbach said. "Then it was the most fun I think either of us have ever had, right? And then at a certain point, I was like, 'I think this is the best thing we've ever written.' I know enough always just to follow what Greta says, so even in my bellyaching and revolting, I kind of knew, 'Well if she really believes it, then there's something there.'"