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Barbie Movie 2023: A Feminist Icon in a Plastic Paradise

Barbie Reimagined: A Doll’s Tale

“Barbie Movie 2023” directed by Greta Gerwig and produced by Warner Bros., is a live-action, you-go-girl fantasia about the world’s most famous doll. The movie explores the question of whether a doll with an ingratiating smile, impossible curves, and ready-for-lift-off boobs can be a feminist icon. The film cleverly uses the Greek myth of Pygmalion as a narrative device but with a twist. Instead of a male sculptor creating and falling in love with a beautiful statue, it’s the imaginations of the young girls and women who play with the doll that gives it life.

The film opens with a prelude that parodies the “dawn of man” sequence in “2001: A Space Odyssey” and then shifts to Barbie Land, a kaleidoscopic wonderland. Gerwig’s directorial command is evident as she sets the scene and tone with Barbie (Margot Robbie) floating out of her Dreamhouse as if lifted by a giant invisible hand. The Mattel brand looms large, but Gerwig is in control.

Welcome to Barbie Land: A Midcentury Modern Dream

Barbie Movie 2023

Barbie Land is a Toyland gated community where Barbie and a diverse group of other Barbies rule. The overarching look evokes the era when Barbie first hit the market, very Palm Springs circa 1960, an aesthetic that could be called bubble-gum mid-century modern. Gerwig ensures the audience has fun in Barbie Land with old-school, Hollywood-style musical numbers and the eternal sidekicks, the Kens (with a scene-stealing Ryan Gosling chief among them).

The film takes a turn when the Barbie doll begins having un-Barbie thoughts and experiences. She thinks of death, and then her feet, which are molded to fit high heels, go flat. This change to Barbie’s body is played for laughs but is crucial to the plot and Gerwig’s intentions. Barbie seeks advice from a misfit version of the doll (the invaluable Kate McKinnon), who prescribes Birkenstocks and a trip to the real world.

A Journey from Plastic to Reality

With Ken riding shotgun, Barbie journeys into something like reality; that they land in Los Angeles reads like a puckish joke. There, Barbie is astonished to discover sexism, and Ken is delighted to discover patriarchy, contrapuntal revelations that generate further comedy and something like enlightenment.

From Toy Shelves to Silver Screen: The Making of Barbie Movie 2023

The journey of Barbie Movie to the big screen has been an epic one, filled with twists and turns. Hollywood’s take on the popular toy has been in the works for more than a decade, with different versions of the project considering various actresses for the title role.

Amy Schumer and Anne Hathaway were previously considered for different iterations of the role, but the long-gestating project finally found its star in two-time Oscar nominee Margot Robbie. Robbie, known for her roles in movies like “Babylon,” brought a more subversive spin to the pink-clad heroine, hinting at a Barbie that was more than just a doll.

The movie was released on July 21, sharing the release date with Christopher Nolan’s star-studded “Oppenheimer,” a true-life drama detailing the birth of the atomic bomb. This shared release date sparked a variety of memes on social media, with cinephiles pitting the highly anticipated films against each other in a playful box-office rivalry.

The film’s plot, while kept under wraps, was teased in a teaser trailer, released on May 25. The trailer gave audiences a glimpse into Barbie’s existential journey, as she pondered her existence and ventured into the human world. The film was described as the “ultimate example of high art and low art,” a loving homage to the Barbie brand that also served as a satirical commentary on male patriarchy and women in society.

The film’s director, Greta Gerwig, a three-time Oscar-nominated director, and writer known for her works like “Lady Bird” and “Little Women,” co-wrote the screenplay with her longtime partner Noah Baumbach. The duo had previously collaborated on films like “Frances Ha” and “Mistress America.” Gerwig’s love for the project was evident, and she managed to carve out a unique space for herself in the narrative.

Star-Studded Cast

Live In Barbie Land

The cast of Barbie Movie is a veritable who’s who of Hollywood. Leading the pack are Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling, who play Barbie and Ken respectively. Robbie, a two-time Oscar nominee known for her roles in films like “Babylon,” brings a subversive spin to the pink-clad heroine, while Gosling, known for his roles in films like “La La Land,” brings his charm and charisma to the role of Ken.

Joining Robbie and Gosling is a diverse and talented ensemble cast. Kate McKinnon (Weird Barbie), Issa Rae (President Barbie), Alexandra Shipp (Doctor Barbie), Nicola Coughlan, and Hari Nef play other Barbies, while Simu Liu and Kingsley Ben-Adir portray various Kens. Emerald Fennell and Michael Cera bring to life now-discontinued dolls Midge and Allan, respectively. Pop star Dua Lipa makes a splash as a mermaid Barbie, and America Ferrera and Will Ferrell round out the cast as human characters.

Interestingly, Gal Gadot was considered for a Barbie role, but the “Wonder Woman” star couldn’t commit. Robbie, in her Vogue cover story, described Gadot as having “Barbie energy” due to her beauty and kindness.

The cast’s performances are enhanced by the film’s script, co-written by director Greta Gerwig and her longtime partner Noah Baumbach. The script balances homage to the Barbie brand with satirical commentary on societal norms, providing the actors with a rich and complex narrative to bring to life.

Plot and Themes

While details about the film’s plot are being kept tightly under wraps, the latest trailer follows Barbie and Ken as they venture from Barbie Land into the real world. The film is described as the “ultimate example of high art and low art.” It’s a loving homage to the brand and, at the same time, couldn’t be more satirical. It’s just an amazing comment on male patriarchy and women in society and why Barbie’s criticized and yet why every little girl still wants to play with Barbie.

Greta Gerwig’s Directorial Brilliance: Behind the Scenes

Greta Gerwig, the three-time Oscar-nominated director and writer of 2017’s “Lady Bird” and 2019’s “Little Women,” is the creative force behind “Barbie Movie 2023.” The actress-turned-filmmaker co-wrote the screenplay with her longtime partner Noah Baumbach, having previously collaborated on 2013’s “Frances Ha” and 2015’s “Mistress America.”

Gerwig’s approach to the Barbie narrative is both unique and captivating. She has managed to create a film that is a loving homage to the Barbie brand while simultaneously offering a satirical commentary on societal norms. The film is described as the “ultimate example of high art and low art.” It’s a testament to Gerwig’s directorial brilliance that she can balance these contrasting elements so effectively.

Gerwig’s passion for the project is evident. In an interview at CinemaCon, she shared her scriptwriting experience with Baumbach. “We were making each other laugh and then we got to the end, and we started to make each other cry,” Gerwig said. “He thought it was very good and was maybe wanting to direct it. And I said, ‘Step aside.’ There was a point I was so in love with it that I couldn’t imagine anyone else doing it.”

Her directorial vision is also reflected in the casting choices. The film features a star-studded cast, including Margot Robbie, Ryan Gosling, Kate McKinnon, Issa Rae, Nicola Coughlan, and Hari Nef. Each actor brings a unique flavor to the film, contributing to the rich tapestry of characters that populate Barbie’s world.

Gerwig’s directorial brilliance extends to the film’s soundtrack as well. The film features a new single from “Levitating” singer Dua Lipa, “Dance the Night,” and includes tracks from other star-studded artists like Nicki Minaj, Lizzo, Charli XCX, Haim, Tame Impala, Dominic Fike, Ice Spice, and even Ryan Gosling.

The Star-Studded Soundtrack: Grooving with Barbie

The soundtrack of “Barbie Movie 2023” is as star-studded as its cast. The film features a new single from “Levitating” singer Dua Lipa, “Dance the Night,” which was released on Friday. The upbeat track perfectly encapsulates the film’s vibrant and energetic spirit.

But the musical extravaganza doesn’t stop there. from classics like “Barbie Girl” from AQUA, The “Barbie” album also feature a host of star-studded artists who lend their voices to the film’s soundtrack. These include Nicki Minaj, Lizzo, Charli XCX, Haim, Tame Impala, Dominic Fike, and Ice Spice. Each artist brings their unique style and sound to the film, creating a diverse and eclectic soundtrack that perfectly complements the film’s narrative.

Interestingly, the film’s soundtrack also features a track from Ryan Gosling, who plays Ken in the movie. Gosling, known for his acting chops, also has a musical side. He is part of the indie rock duo Dead Man’s Bones and has showcased his singing skills in films like “La La Land.”


Barbie Movie is not just a film about a doll; it’s a film about society, gender norms, and the power of imagination. It’s a film that pushes boundaries and challenges perceptions, all while providing a fun experience. It’s a film that will make you laugh, think, and perhaps see the Barbie world in a new light.

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