Barbie” English movie -(114 minutes) Starring: Margot Robbie, Ryan Gosling, Greta Gerwig, Director: Greta Gerwig, Producers: Margot Robbie, Tom Ackenley, Robbie Brenner,David Heyman, Laurance Mark, Amy Pascal
Rama Krishna Sangem
When two big ticket Hollywood movies – Barbie and Oppenheimer were released on the same day – July 21 and vied for audience, some conducted voting. Finally, Barbie raced past Oppenheimer. Even British PM Rishi Sunak and his family – wife Akshata and daughter Krishna voted for Barbie. but a new phrase “Barbienheimer” came up, meaning many liked to see them both last weekend and later.
Perhaps, this is a rare movie in which both producer and director have acted. There are many animation and multimedia films on Barbie, but this is the first full scale live action film, broadly based on Barbie doll, that came into American market by Mattle company, in 1956. In this film, Mattle company and creator of the doll, Ruth Handler too figure in.
Some movie analysts and market watchers feel this 150 million US dollar movie is primarily aimed at preserving and continuing the commercial relevance of Barbie dolls, for another 10-15 years. Interestingly, all forms of criticism and praise of Barbie are mentioned in the movie. Some call the doll as capitalistic stereotypical woman, while others dismissed it as submissive and sexually weak object.
Barbie stands for liberated woman
In this movie, Barbie liberates herself from all stereotypes and prefers a life of a normal woman. But, to reach that stage, she undergoes a lot of churning. In Barbieland, a fairy pink world where woman enjoy supremacy over men (Ken). All nights are of Barbie nights. Men are just sidekicks of women. However, one Ken, a friend of Barbie, stereotypical, sticks to her.
One day, Barbie fears losing her charms and told by Weird Barbie, to go to Real World, and find a girl – Shasha – who plays with her Barbie doll. Shasha, who is sad, scolds Barbie for raising expectations of woman in the world – Slim, but healthy, white but not pale, good looking but not intimidating etc. On the other hand, Ken who too follows Barbie to Real World, knows here men dominate and women being submissive. He likes the idea and implements it in Barbieland.
Then, Barbieland changes upside down – from matrilineal to patriarchal. This upsets Barbie and other girls. Finally, all realize that men and women are equal and they need each other. Barbie too knows the importance of real life and the joy of tears, though they bring pain. The movie ends with a climax scene where Barbie goes a gynecologist, apparently to become a full scale woman. Obliviously, girls are enjoying the movie, more than boys.
Even in Box Office collections, Barbie is much ahead of Oppenheimer, as it grossed around 200 million US dollars in about a week.