The Moya View

Barbie: Living and Dreaming in the IRL highly Meta-Life

Storyline via IMDB:

Barbie suffers a crisis that leads her to question her world and her existence.


There is a lot of feminism floating through Barbie. Some thoughts of death too— the perfect doll ruminating, fearing, crying about a mortal end.

Warner Bros.

It turns out to be a rip in the Barbie-real world continuum, a fracture of the symbiosis between playmate and play girl. The sweet happy playtime that’s suppose to remind the child of the infinite positive possibilities of her femininity and aspirations has gone sour and the ensuing depression and restriction demands a trip to the real world to correct.

Warner Bros.

It’s all pretty meta as all the positives that are Barbie (perfection, popularity, positive play) clash with the cultural negative associations (toxic gender norms, consumerist ideals of femininity). It all gets flipped, reinvented.

Warner Bros.

Everything gets tossed to the wall to see what funny sticks. Thanks to Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling on point performances as Barbie and Ken, most of it does, and surprisingly resonates with the female audience.

Warner Bros.

The movies Pygmalion roots are kept at its mythic modern level. It’s girls imaginations that give Barbie life, creates Barbieland into a never changing nation utopia focused on positive aspirations and playtime-partytime. It’s all about ideal sisterhood.

Warner Bros.

In this world Ken is an accessory. He hopes for marriage, something and anything beyond the platonic. Barbie- here called stereotypical Barbie to distinguish her from all the ethnic, occupational, aspirational variations that abound- only wants to keep her separate identity, keep everything the same and unchanging. Marriage is not part of the equation.

Warner Bros.

When the irl sequences occur it flips Ken’s awareness making Barbie uncomfortable. It precursors the end of Barbieland to male dominated, and not better for it, Kenland.

Warner Bros.

The Ken’s being vapid and shallow devolve into civil war between competing male dominating identities. It’s not as serious as it sounds. These are concepts in play and not real humans, therefore they can not be any real bloodletting. This is not war, it’s The Three Stooges.

Warner Bros.

The Barbies eventually reassert their power with some modifications. (The Kens get their own houses and don’t have to live on the beach, their feelings are acknowledged.) Marriage and true equality and power are still off the table.

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Greta Gerwig and her directing husband, Noah Baumbach wrote the script. Some of their worries about their marriage, jealousy over the other’s successes are constantly subliminally bubbling up. I saw it as the feuding and admiration between John Lennon and Paul McCartney fusing together to make great songs and lyrics. The script maybe a fusion but the resulting product is total Gerwig. In her movies, she gets the Final Cut and the last word.

Warner Bros.

Barbie gets a 3.5 out of 5 or a B+.

Warner Bros.


Directed by

Greta Gerwig

Written by

Based on


by Mattel

Produced by


Narrated by

Helen Mirren


Rodrigo Prieto

Edited by

Nick Houy

Music by



Distributed by

Warner Bros. Pictures

Release dates

Running time

114 minutes[1]


United States




$128–145 million

Warner Bros.





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