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Best Picture Binge - Barbie

She's everything. He's just Ken.

Barbie is a 2023 fantasy comedy drama film directed by Greta Gerwig, written by Greta Gerwig and Noah Baumbach, produced by Heyday Films, Lucky Chip Entertainment, NB/GG Pictures, and Mattel Films, and distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures. The film is based off of the Mattel product of the same name. It stars Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling. It was nominated for Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best Costume Design, Best Production Design, and Best Original Score.

"Humans only have one ending. Ideas live forever." - Ruth Handler


In Barbie World, every day is perfect. That is, until Barbie travels into the real world with Ken and discovers not everything is as perfect as it seems.

The Sweet

Barbie is, perhaps, the most popular Best Picture nominee this year.

As time has gone on, my feelings on Barbie have not really changed. I still think this movie is really funny. The dialogue is really clever and the way Greta Gerwig visualizes the Barbie World is just genius. There are multiple moments that have you cracking up out loud. Ryan Gosling's Ken is absolutely hilarious. It's just really, really funny.

Barbie is also the movie I've talked about with people the most over the past year. There are a plethora of opinions on this film, and I think that that's good for film in general. This is what movies are about. Not only is it the highest-grossing film of 2023, but it got people talking. Everyone has seen this movie. And everyone has been talking about this movie. Regardless of your opinion on it, I think that's cool.

I also found this movie to be an incredibly creative utilization of the Barbie product. When this movie was first announced, it seemed like it was going to be some G-rated movie for elementary school girls. Obviously, that's not what this film is at all, and I think that that's really interesting. Using Barbie as an allegory for the problems women face in today's society is a really creative and smart way to do social commentary. The message is great, and I find it to be very profound throughout most of the film. To me, the message works best when it is uplifting women. For example, there's a moment in the real world where Barbie turns to an old woman on a bench and tells her she's beautiful. I thought that moment was fantastic, and I think there are other moments like that that really work.

I feel like I'm doing this in every single one of these Best Picture reviews, but every performance in this movie is fantastic. I actually think America Ferrera was one of the weaker performances in the film despite her Oscar nomination. Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling are the obvious highlights, and I am shocked that Robbie was snubbed. The supporting cast of Barbies and Kens are just fun to see. From Simu Liu to Issa Rae to Kingsley Ben-Adir to Emma Mackey, these actors just fill out the supporting cast beautifully.

The Sour

Before I go in to my negatives on Barbie, let me be clear on something: I am writing from the perspective of a 17-year-old guy. I have not experienced the problems that women experience. I am not an adult. So I want to acknowledge that my experience with Barbie is different than most people.

The thing I don't like about this film is literally America Ferrera's monologue. Near the end of the film, Ferrera's character gives a ten-minute monologue that just dumps out all of the problems women face. To me, I think that that removes the metaphor. All subtlety is removed as the film decides to ignore the underlying aspects of the message and just say all the problems that women experience in today's world. I feel like that speech weakened the message. And I think it weakens the movie as a whole.

And, on a story level, Barbie doesn't entirely work. The movie is kind of all over the place with America Ferrera's connection to Margot Robbie and the mix between the real world and the Barbie world. As great of a song as it is, I'm Just Ken is just randomly thrown into the middle of the third act and, structurally, feels really weird. Will Ferrell's character feels underutilized: it's as if they should've included him more or not at all, because his current involvement in the movie is not enough but also too much. I just think this movie's script is a mess. And I don't think a lot of people acknowledge that.

Does This Movie Deserve It's Best Picture Nomination?

I think Barbie does check all of the boxes. The direction is great and the acting is some of the best this year. The script is a mess, but it's very funny and does have a good message at the core. In an industry where so many movies are based on products or are sequels or remakes, Barbie sticks out as completely unique. Most people would argue that this is the movie of the year. If you went out to the theater one time this year, it was most likely to see Barbie.

So, with that, Barbie definitely deserves it's Best Picture nomination.

Final Thoughts and Score

I think I like Barbie a little bit less than I did upon initial watch, but I still think it's a good, important film that is both funny and thought-provoking.

I'm going Savory here. Age range is 10+.


Sweet (Great) Savory (Good) Sour (Bad)

Moldy (Terrible)


Fun Factor: 7.5/10

Acting: 9.5/10

Story: 6.5/10

Characters: 8/10

Quality: 8/10

Directed by Greta Gerwig

Rated PG-13 for language, suggestive material, thematic elements

Released on July 21, 2023

1 hour and 54 minutes

Margot Robbie as Barbie

Ryan Gosling as Ken

Issa Rae as President Barbie

Kate McKinnon as Weird Barbie

Alexandra Shipp as Writer Barbie

Emma Mackey as Physicist Barbie

Hari Nef as Dr. Barbie

Sharon Rooney as Lawyer Barbie

Ana Cruz Kayne as Judge Barbie

Rita Arya as Journalist Barbie

Dua Lipa as Mermaid Barbie

Nicola Coughlan as Diplomat Barbie

Simu Liu as Tourist Ken

Kingsley Ben-Adir as Basketball Ken

Ncuti Gatwa as Artist Ken

Scott Evans as Stereotypical Ken

John Cena as Kenmaid

America Ferrera as Gloria

Ariana Greenblatt as Sasha

Rhea Perlman as Ruth Handler

Helen Mirren as The Narrator

Will Ferrell as Mattel CEO

Michael Cera as Allan


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