Spoiler alert: There are a lot of spoilers in this review. Watch out!
I left the barbie surprised and disbelieving movie. Hollywood darling Greta Gerwig, the writer and director of this guaranteed blockbuster, has somehow made the first film explicitly set. inside the Longhouse.
And he did it totally by accident.
What a time to be alive!
If you’re still confused about what the “long house” is, the Barbie movie is here to clear it up for you.
For Greta Gerwig and her life partner and co-writer Noah Baumbach, her longtime residency, the feminist Longhouse is good, indeed. It’s the only thing that keeps the men—and Ken—in their place. Greta and her alter-ego doll continue, always, forever, to fight the mythological patriarchy from the privilege and safety of their dream homes.
She seems totally oblivious to the fact that in today’s Hollywood, just like in Barbieland, girls rule. Men and Kens are firmly in the backseat. Ms. Gerwig and her sisterhood of head girls are up to the task.
Gerwig is the most in-demand writer of the last decade. And yet he is also in some ways the victim of patriarchy. This film is his great Airing of the Grievances.
The script briefly alludes to the lie that men are still in charge with a throwaway joke halfway through the film. Ken, in the real world, asks a businessman in a suit how he can get a job in an office. The businessman says something to the effect of, “Well, actually, being a man isn’t going to help you anymore. Don’t worry, there’s still a patriarchy, but we’ve gotten better at hiding it.”
Ah yes, invisible patriarchy, everywhere, always, just like systemic racism and midichlorians!
Let me briefly summarize the whole story for you. Blonde white Barbie, the “hot” (or middle, second), develops a mysterious existential crisis: she is depressed and anxious with thoughts of death. Just like a real millennial girl!
Ken, on the other hand, is already in the middle of his own crisis, but she is not aware of it. He’s an incel: programmed by his creator to fall hopelessly in love with Barbie, but she’s befriended the poor guy forever.
He visits Barbie in her pink dream house (every Barbie has her fabulous dream house; when asked later where the Kens sleep, she says “Oh, I have no idea!”) and asks her to stay. Is Ken homeless? “I want you gone,” she says, coldly emasculating him. “Tonight is girls’ night and every night.”
Ken, not housing her, gives her the bad, and the harder it is to win her approval, the less she cares.
Fat Friend Barbie, Trans Lia Thomas Barbie, and the various Multiracial Sidekick Barbies send her to talk to Bipolar Barbie to help her with her depression. Bipolar Barbie, who they call Weird Barbie, a very funny Kate MacKinnon, is a kind of Morpheus character who tells Barbie what happened: the boy who plays with her in the real world is suffering, which has opened a rift between the two lands. Barbie must go to the real world, find the girl and heal the rift to make things right.
Barbie takes the pink pill and leaves. In her pink Corvette, she sings with the Indigo Girls, the famous lesbian indie band, a preview of what’s to come.
He lands in Los Angeles with Ken on the Venice Beach boardwalk. But this is not the real Boardwalk: there are no homeless people, no tents, no violent addicts, no hordes gathered around break-dancing kids from Compton. Literally everyone walking the boardwalk looking at Barbie looks like a USC water polo frat boy.
The only people looking at Ken are two gay guys.
They are targeting a group of construction workers. “Hi, I’m Barbie,” she announces. “I don’t have a vagina! And this is Ken: he doesn’t have a penis. We don’t have genitalia!”
Ken, humiliated, replies, “I have all my genitals.” (As I said, this is not a movie for small children.)
I wonder if Barbie would say that about fellow trans Barbie, played by Hari Nef, a biological male. Do you have a penis or a vagina? The movie doesn’t say that.
As the pair stroll past an office building in Century City, Ken has a series of revelations. First, he is surprised by police officers on horseback. Then he sees some sweaty gym goers coming out of a gym. He looks inside and sees the guys working out, lifting and generally being total fascists, according to NBC.
Finally, he enters an office building and observes a group of businessmen. He imitates their manly gestures of authority, and is surprised when one of them is rude to his assistant.
Then he sees a montage of some commercials playing on a video monitor in the lobby. We see footage of: Bill Clinton in front of an American flag, Ronald Reagan, Sly Stallone as Rocky and wearing a long fur coat, a clip of men playing sports, the Marlboro Man ads and photographs of portraits of Abraham Lincoln and George Washington on paper money, a clip of fat from “Greased Lightening”. Clip after clip of men acting like men. Ken is dazzled and has an epiphany: in the real world, “men are in charge!”
what a lie Greta Gerwig had to dig deep into the Best of the Eighties file to get these clips because, as we know, there’s nothing like it on TV anymore. Ken doesn’t understand that he will have to “Retvrn” to see a world where men are still in charge. A more accurate montage of modern-day television would be exactly like… Barbieland, where the Supreme Court is female, girls rule the world, and transgender women are women.
Barbie finds the girl who has her in high school. The sullen girl accuses Barbie of setting the feminist movement back 50 years and then calls her a “fascist”.
Ken walks into the school library and looks at a stack of books on how to be a man. I tried scanning the titles on the shelves to see if I was looking Bronze Age mentality. No matter how nervous Greta Gerwig thinks she is, she’s not nervous enough to do it.
Return to Barbieland to tell all the other Kens the good news: men are supposed to be in charge!
Barbieland becomes Kenworld, the manosphere, a healthy version of Club Tropical Excellent, where men rule and it’s always Handsome Thursday. Images of galloping horses are played on every television as porn. Dream homes have been transformed into stereotypical man caves. Ken works out, does pull-ups and wears Sly Stallone’s coat and no shirt. Barbie dolls have been brainwashed into writing again: they’re bimbos, Dallas Cowboy cheerleaders, and barmaids from a pre-Dylan Mulvaney Bud Light commercial.
In one scene, a patriarchal Ken forces a Barbie to see the Godfather and asks Robert Evans.
In the next, a Ken tells a Barbie what “Stephen Malkmus did for indie rock.” (Stephen Malkmus is the lead singer of the 90s band Pavement).
Gen X joke, I can’t resist!
For a movie that is a refutation of “bad” and archaic female stereotypes, it sure reinforces a lot of “bad” male stereotypes! I’m surprised they didn’t include a moment of Ken punching a Barbie in the face, or Ken raping a Barbie.
However, this point can be lost on filmmakers.
The fun goes down as Barbie faces her newfound depression, anxiety and self-loathing. He ate the apple and now he cries a lot. They even insert a “funny” toy ad for depressed Barbie, where a crying Barbie gorges herself on food and watches the BBC’s version of Pride and Prejudice. Fun! Nervous!
The Barbies decide that the solution is to put the Kens back in their place and take back Barbieland.
Ken realizes that he is the downtrodden, trapped in a pink longhouse that he can never leave. He sings; “I’m just Ken, anywhere else I’d be a ten.”
The Barbies launch a literal plan to distract the Kens and restore their totalitarian oligarchy. They introduce a literal “pink police state” as the dolls become undercover cops in pink suits, methodically distracting the Kens with a bimbo so they can deprogram each doll from their toxic male cult.
Then they enter the pink Capitol building: Barbie Insurrection! – to overthrow the government and rewrite the “Barbie constitution”.
It turns out that Barbie, is a fascist The Kens are the good guys, and the Barbies, it turns out, are the bad guys.
The dolls even take back the Supreme Court (yes, there are Barbie Supreme Court scenes.) It’s a metaphor for Roe v. Wade that lands like a pile of pink bricks.
I applaud Gerwig’s restraint in not introducing a Ruth Bader Ginsberg Barbie.
Ken’s story ends with Barbie telling him she doesn’t love him. The last time she sees Ken, he’s been clapped back in Longhouse chains and is sporting a rainbow fleece emblazoned with the words “I Am Kenough”.
The I Am Kenough Hoodie on Mattel’s website is sold out!
Although at no point in the film is the desire to “be where the people are” expressed, as the Little Mermaid would say, the film ends with a Pinnotxo-style transformation of Barbie into an actual human woman.
Her Blue Fairy takes the form of the ghost of Ruth Handler, inventor of the Barbie doll, in a blue dress.
The last scene is the newly human Barbie, in Santa Monica, wearing Birkenstocks instead of high heels, arriving at a doctor’s office. The receptionist asks who he is there to see. Barbie, now named Barbara Handler, says with a gleeful smile, “My gynecologist!”
Cut, roll credits.
Gynocracy, take a bow!
In another accidentally based twist, what makes Barbie a woman is having a vagina – look up Matt Walsh!
In the sequel, Depo-Provera Barbie and her sterilized guts will be living their best life on Tinder, going to Burning Man, attending Planned Parenthood rallies and abortion marches.
All she’s missing at the end is her pink Mattel-branded hat.
This movie will be an absolute hit. He won the gynecracy. Since the film has some genuine laughs and inspired performance by Ryan Gosling, along with some fun musical dance numbers and normie favorite Will Ferrell in Elf mode, people will love it. There will be sequels to Barbie for years.
The barbie The film has set the anti-feminist movement back 50 years.
So now we’re even.