Ben Oliver

Banner image for Barbie


To be honest, when I found out the patriarchy wasn’t just about horses, I lost interest.
27 July 2023

While living her perfect life in her Barbie dream house, Barbie (Margot Robbie) starts to feel human feelings and so goes to the real world to find the person that plays with her. Ken (Ryan Gosling) tags along.

If a film can ever be accused of being over-promoted it’s perhaps this one. I suspect with the looming actor’s strike they felt the need to give it the biggest shove they could before its release. And while it looks like yet another attempt to launch some sort of franchise, having Greta Gerwig attached to it as director caught my eye.

Mercifully, she manages to deliver on at least some of the hype without completely selling out creatively and artistically. It’s a delicate balancing act that doesn’t always work but mostly it’s a funny, offbeat film with great production design.

It could have done without a couple of clunky scenes carefully explaining its feminist message. The monologues are well written but it’s like having to sit through a seminar in church before you’re allow to get to the coffee and cake. It’s needlessly insecure in its story and concept which, without giving too much away, do more than enough to get the point across on their own.

They lean hard on Ryan Gosling for comedy value and he completely steals the show. Will Ferrell is also hilarious as the Barbie CEO.

A bit of a mess, but a really entertaining one.

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