Arnav’s review published on Letterboxd:
“Humans only have one ending. Ideas live forever.”
The movie event of the year, and perhaps the greatest double feature of all-time. Kicking things off with Barbie this morning was a wonderful way to start my day. It was really satisfying to sit in the theater waiting to finally watch Barbie. It was one of the first upcoming films I added to my watchlist back when I first engaged in Letterboxd in 2020 - so it meant a lot to me. After all the promotion, marketing and trailers this film had, it felt unreal. It becoming so popular only made me even more excited. It's hard not to be, with this cast, this filmmaker and these writers. I think the release of Barbie undeniably saved cinema. Are movies back again? After seeing this, I truly believe so.
On its surface, Barbie is an entertaining flick with loads of laughs, humor and genuine heartfelt moments. It's pretty basic, easy to follow and just straight fun. I found myself constantly giggling with my friends in the theater who had so much fun too. It's a movie that you have to see with an audience. It's absolutely hilarious. There were so many excellently written jokes here with fantastic delivery. Some even unintentional - making my friends laugh, making me laugh. It opens with a beautiful 2001 reference that sets the tone for the rest of the film exquisitely. It allows for so much of room in not only the unexpected revelations to fit in the films premise but also to find its footing, grounding itself as it's own. It's a very silly movie, and while not every single joke lands (flat feet!), it understands it's audience and serves them well. It's just a really fun time. But is it deeper than that? We all knew it was going to be fun and funny, but what about these insightful ideas that roam around the films ideally perfect premise in canon? I think this is where the film works best. It takes themes of existentialism, capitalism, consumerism and even death which compile into a film about Barbie. Sounds weird? I'd say it works really well, and you'd have to see it to understand. The trailer hints on these but it's way more evident in the actual film. And these aspects spiral out of control, taking over every single moment in the movie without being apparent. It's a kids movie, so it does all of this very discretely and I don't think I've ever seen anything like it - or at least executed in this way. The way it tackles these themes are fascinating, allowing for a lot of great exploration to take place. It's truly a movie for everyone. It's genuinely hard to dislike. I admire so much of what this film does and I'm glad to say it met my overall expectations.
The film is performed extremely well overall, led by the beautiful Margot Robbie. She is perfect in this role. I genuinely can't think of a better casting choice for the doll that personifies beauty. Not only does she look the role, but plays the part excellently. Her emotional scenes were on point, and her comedic timing is perfect. Literally the perfect role. But truly? I stole the show. My bad, I mean Ryan Gosling stole the show. He has this weird charm that creates a new version of the character of Ken. He is perfect. Does he deserve an Oscar nomination? Absolutely. I think he has a lot of heart here and delivers one of the most successfully comedic performances of the decade so far. He's hilarious in this. I think most of my laughter went to him. The entire “I'm just Ken” sequence not only killed me, big inspired me. It's beautiful. Gosling can sing, and I love the song. Why am I listening to this? That scene is literal perfection though. I feel like I resonated with that sequence a little, and it being extremely catchy and fun (and just good) only elevate that. The supporting cast is great. Even the ten minutes of Michael Cera is perfect. Just such a well casted, well acted movie all in all. It's brilliantly written, with so much of wit. This movie is so popular due to it being Barbie that people are forgetting that Greta Gerwig and Noah Baumbach literally wrote this. Two of the best writers of our time write a movie about Barbie, of course this is the reception it gets. But even though it's very apparent, Gerwig needs more attention. Her direction is clear and her execution strives for nothing less than greatness. Does it achieve that? You're damn right she does.
I loved it. Barbie is not exactly what I expected but worked in all the ways I didn't anticipate. It works well as an emotional drama yet parallels that as a silly comedy. It's a fun time in theaters, and I certainly had a wonderful experience. What's better than seeing the new Barbie movie with the boys? It was in Dolby too, so that's a win. The music was fitting and great! The visuals and production design were arguably perfect! Seeing all those names on the screen after the opening made me so excited, and to top it off with Greta Gerwig's directing stamp made things perfect. I lived in the moment and I was happy. It's rich themes ignite a beautiful, bizzare and wonderfully strange set of events that take serious subjects and inject them into the surface of a kids movie with the most famous doll on the planet as the main character. I left the theater with a large smile on my face.
However, nothing could prepare me for what I was about to see next. If anything, I ate dessert before dinner. As a kid though, that's what you want, right? Perfect.