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  • Writer's pictureEugene

Barbie (2023)

Updated: Mar 3

Barbie was a buzzy feelgood event with a pink vibe.  The glorious community cinema Barbie dolls house on display was much admired and photographed.


Our discussion group agreed that Greta Gerwig’s Oscar nominated film kept everyone entertained.  We shared our feelings about the opening 2001 parody sequence and most of us felt it was inspired.  For me, it’s the best part of the film.


There was lots of fun to be had. However, the message about real life being hard and that we didn’t have to be perfect, also struck home with members of the discussion group.


We shared our childhood stories – one of us had been given a Barbie in her native country. Some had the cheaper British rival Sindy. Others never had interest in Barbie at all.  We also learnt about Major Matt Mason, Mattel’s 1960s astronaut doll and the Tom Hanks movie in the pipeline.


We were torn between being on board with the film’s anti-patriarchy message, but also seeing wider issues. The film was funny, ironic and touching, yet we were mindful of wider capitalism and commercialism.  On one hand it was criticising patriarchy and oppressive structures, on another it was having its pink cake and eating it.  The question was asked – “Do we want Mattel funding social change?”


We found the short film about Barbie in India to be fascinating. It showed that local artisans created traditional clothing for the dolls, celebrating Indian culture.  It was pleasing to see a Barbie in the film in a wheelchair. We discussed diversity and when Mattel began to create dolls to reflect the wider ethnic community.


The excellent point was made that the vivid design owed a lot to Wes Anderson. Incidentally, I read that the film caused a worldwide shortage of pink fluorescent paint.  



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