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Barbie is a LOT (and also just a movie)

Review by Laura May Grogan

As predicted, there’s a lot of looks, a lot of wigs  and really, just A LOT of ideas.  But, ultimately, a lot of fun.

Like the trailer says, if you love Barbie, this movie is for you, if you hate Barbie, this movie is for you. What they left out is, if you’re also like your humble narrator (that’s me, not the hot voice of Helen Mirren who narrates Barbie), and you’re just kind of interested in the hubbub, (and you wanna cheer on our Margot, see Ryan Gosling’s 42 year old abs, as well as deep diving into how a feminist / anti-feminist icon in post fourth wave feminism is portrayed), then, ya guessed it, this movie is also for you.

I found myself wresting with all the ideas the movie was trying to convey. I was trying to decipher the meaning of each reference, each scene change and each Easter egg. I wanted to understand what Greta Gerwig was saying about Barbie, and what Barbie said about me, as a woman, now.

That way of watching, was a joyless and exhausting experience. And so, I cracked it, that’s the point of Barbie! To give the audience a cinematic transference! For us all to experience the gruelling existence of being a ‘Modern Woman’! The unrelenting and unrealistic expectations, the self doubt, the bombardment of contradictions, the internal and external monologues that confine and limit us.

Aaaaaaaand then I remembered, it’s a movie about the myth around a piece of plastic for children. A piece of plastic.

It feels like the aftermath of the movie’s release, we’ve all sort of forgotten it’s a film about a toy. I say this acknowledging the problematic nature of the myth around that piece of plastic, the whiteness of that plastic, the thinness of that plastic, the impossibility of that plastic. And plastic all the same. It can, now, in the moment in history we are in now, knowing what we know, I think it can reduced to a colourful tale about the myth about a plastic toy.

What I think this movie gifts us, is the opportunity to simply exist in it’s world. To tag along on it’s metamodern escapade and just let it be a movie, not a musing on what it is to be a ‘real woman’. Cause we all know, right? there is nothing real about barbie, the doll, its a myth. There is also nothing real about Barbie, the movie. The backdrops are fake, the hair is fake, the story, is fake. And there certainly is no such thing as a ‘real woman’, right?  Greta Gerwig said on ABC news recently “She’s not either good or bad, what is the negotiation of what women need to be? And how to give them something other than a tightrope to walk on.”

So I choose to step off the tightrope, kick back with a choc top and watch some shades of pink, moving really quickly.

Go see it, if you haven’t already, mostly cause the world is on fire, and life is heavy and the process of finding out who you are and what you’re made for (another perfect breathy post emo banger from Billie Eilish) is also, fucking heavy.

Gift yourself something to talk about with the people in your life that’s light. Compare notes of the best set, reminisce about the adventures of the barbies of youth (including tales of those simulated sex scenes, right? surely that wasn’t just me?), decipher Ken’s arch or the importance of the phone conversation between the FBI and the interns at Mattel, or why America Ferrera’s character didn’t get offered a raise.

Mostly, if you can, go see it in the cinema. People cackled, and cheered. They dressed up and they clapped wildly at the end. I’ll go on record and say this, it’s not daggy to clap at the cinema, I mentioned it already right, life is fucking heavy.

The movie is alot, and also just a movie.

Laura May Grogan

Laura May Grogan has been making photographs of people for over 15 years.
Born in Melbourne with a wandering heart, she’s worked in assignment in India, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, the UK, the USA and her former adopted home of Mexico.
She’s happiest of when her commercial and art practices converge and she’s able to show a sitter a beautiful version of themselves, in a pocket of gentle light, feeling proud of who they are.
You can checkout Laura’s website here.

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