Barbie review: Greta Gerwig’s film is in Irish cinemas today… and it’s so worth the hype

Barbie is out today – if you didn’t already know.

For months now, Greta Gerwig’s eagerly anticipated film has been at the forefront of public consciousness. The memes have been rife, the teasers have gone viral, Ryan Gosling has been, unequivocally, just Ken.

Naturally, recent weeks in the lead up to its release have been no different. We’re talking elusive premiere invites, a staggering global press tour, and a marketing campaign that would rival any summer blockbuster this side of the millennium.

With such intense hype the fear was that the film would fall short, relying solely on social media excitement to shoot it straight to the top of the box office, without actually being, well… as great as we were promised it would be.

Thankfully, that is not the case. Not even a little bit.

Barbie is, as its tagline suggests, everything – but it’s also so much more than that too.

Gerwig may have given herself a near impossible task – to create a film that’s touching but still fun, that looks incredible but still has something meaningful to say, that expertly builds worlds that are so realistic while still maintaining the magic of a long beloved brand.

The film hits every beat expected of it within its short enough run time, taking Barbie on a journey (literally and figuratively) from the familiarities of Barbieland to the realities of the Real World, where there are no women in Mattel’s C-suite and construction workers don’t make you feel empowered.

It’s also funny. Like, really funny. Go in expecting a laugh and you’ll get it two-fold, but leave knowing there’s far more to Barbieland beyond the hot pink Dream Houses and plastic beaches.

Barbie pokes fun at the brand’s long line of discontinued dolls including pregnant Midge and superfluous Allan (he’s Ken’s buddy!), as well as the criticisms Barbie has garnered over the years for perpetuating unrealistic body standards for little girls, and for preaching that women always must be exceptional.

It’s poignant without being self-righteous, and feminist while still being accessible to younger audiences. Margot Robbie is exceptional in her portrayal of a stereotypical doll who’s slowly realising that womanhood may not be everything she thought it was, and America Fererra is the perfect person to help her get there.

And then there’s Ken – the Barbie obsessed, Beach-working, double denim sporting doll who goes on his own journey of self discovery involving bachelor pads, mink coats, and the realisation that the patriarchy works in his favour, actually.

If there was ever a part Ryan Gosling was born to play, it was this. Warner is clearly setting him up for his own spin-off, and even though this is Barbie’s world and Ken’s just living in it, that’s okay because Ken is Kenough.

Barbie has already been dubbed a triumph, and rightly so. It’s also been called “anti-man”, which it isn’t. It’s a movie made by women, for women, about women, starring some of the most incredible women in pop culture at the moment. And also Rob Brydon, for some reason.

It’s a masterclass in meta comedy, and so worth the hype – and thank god for that.

Barbie is out in Irish cinemas now. 

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