By Jade Mwaniki
I recently watched one of the most popular movies released this year, Barbie. It premiered in July. What I loved about the movie were its graphics and the design. It was very vibrant and captivating because of the colors incorporated and the precise attention to detail.
The characters that acted in the film are renowned artists, which was a plus for the film, since their top tier acting skills attracted a large audience. Margot Robbie, who played Barbie, and Ryan Gosling, who played Ken, gave stellar performances in their roles which contributed to the articulation of one the most important aspects of film production – which is the concise relay of any film’s message.
There is no doubt that we live in a gender biased world. That has and will be the case for years to come until gender equality can be effectively achieved. Margot and Ryan, through their respective lead roles, clearly showed this problem that we face in society. The Barbie doll, on which the movie is based, is a well-known brand. It is a popular doll among many children (mainly girls) the world over. Previous iterations of the movie spoke to how the doll influenced many young girls and created unrealistic expectation of what a girl’s life, body and social status should look like.
However, the production of the new version of the movie Barbie, had a whole different layout and script to it. From statistics and research that I did from various websites, Barbie had “quite a good rating and most people liked the message the new movie was sending. It was a powerful, empowering message for all ages, uplifting women in the society from all backgrounds and across every spectrum.” These are some of the comments that were left on the websites that were featuring the film.
As a woman, when I finished watching the movie, I felt so inspired, happy and determined to do things differently and to chart my own way. Women go through a lot of daily pressures, and it was nice to feel uplifted and powerful in a society that is ordinarily so harsh and brutal to women. It is good that this narrative is slowly changing and becoming more dynamic, opening opportunities for women spiritually, socially, economically and financially as well.
However, from several reviews, some people felt that certain aspects of the film could have been done differently. People, especially men felt that there was a lot of ridicule of patriarchy in the film. Despite the script mostly being centered on praising and uplifting women, some men felt that the film was ridiculing them and could have still uplifted women without necessarily having to diminish them. This to be expected, since both positive and negative feedback are part of what make movies so great.
I view this dialogue as being both healthy and necessary, because societal change for the better usually happens as a direct result of people discussing everyday challenges, and seeking solutions to them, rather than hiding or running from them. Once again, this speaks to the value of film and theatre in addressing social ills.
In conclusion, I loved the movie and would definitely recommend it. Obviously, I preferred it to Oppenheimer. I know, I know, most of you may be shocked but it just was not for me. I like living in a Barbie world, especially this one!