Barbie has been an icon in fashion, fantasy, stories, movies and almost everything you can think of since her first debut on the 9th of March 1959. Becoming a beloved toy, a collector’s item and a pop culture icon, fans were delighted when they first heard that Barbie would be coming to the big screen for the first time in the medium of live-action. With so many ideas floating around and a few hints about the movie’s plot, what is the Barbie (2023) movie really about?
The first ever live-action depiction of Barbieis written and directed by Greta Gerwig with the help of Noah Baumbach. It shows Barbie like we’ve never seen her before. Usually, Barbie goes on some kind of fantastical adventure, as we have seen with many of her animated movies like Barbie: Mermadia or Barbie & The Diamond Castle, but not for this story. In Barbie (2023), we see a more traditional depiction of Barbie living in Barbie Land with all the other Barbies and Kens in an idyllic world of perfection and play until Barbie suddenly has an existential crisis.
What happens when dolls become sentient and don’t know how to handle the knowledge they find? You can join the cast of Barbie in the theatre on the 21st of July, 2023, to find out.
This fantasy comedy has a star-studded cast, including many Barbies and Kens. The Barbies on the cast include Alexandra Shipp, Ana Cruz Kayne, Dua Lipa, Emma Mackey, Hari Nef, Issa Rae, Kate McKinnon, the main character Margot Robbie, Molly Payton White as Fashion Designer Barbie, Nicola Coughlan, Rita Arya, and Sharon Rooney. The Kens on the cast include John Cena, Kingsley Ben-Adir, Ncuti Gatwa, the “main Ken” being Ryan Gosling, Scott Evans and Simu Liu.
Of course, the movie has other characters, so it’s not just Barbies and Ken. America Ferrera stars as Gloria, Ariana Greenblatt as Sasha, Connor Swindells as Aaron Dinkins, Emerald Fennell as Midge, Helen Mirren as the story’s narrator, and Michael Cera as Allan.
It’s Not Just About Toys
During her Barbie Dreamhouse tour with Architectural Digest, Margot Robbie spoke about many stylistic choices for the film’s aesthetic and theme. According to Robbie, many choices were made by Greta Gerwig because the cast and production wanted to bring forth a feeling of child-like wonder and nostalgia and invoke how children might have felt while playing with their toys.
Small choices, like the water of the pool not being real because we all had pools that were stickers, the contents of the fridge being a decal because we weren’t trusted with small food items, which were choking hazards. The hair brush that Barbie uses is five sizes too big because it needed to be something children could hold and use to scale etc.
All these choices were made to invoke nostalgia and to tell the story of Barbie having her existential crisis, but what if there was another reason for it as well? What if there was another meaning behind these themes in the film?
A fan theory recently emerged on Reddit regarding the real meaning behind the Barbie movie, posted on r/FanTheory. A user named AdmirableTour141 mentioned how the film starts with the themes that Gerwig wanted audiences to feel, shooting the film exactly how a child would play with their Barbie dolls.
AdmirableTour141 mentions how Barbie doesn’t have to walk to her car but floats down because no child would play pretend that their Barbie was walking down the stairs but would just grab them and put them in the car.
They go on about the different elements and then ask, what if the Barbie movie isn’t about Barbie becoming self-aware but tells the story of children growing up? Growing up comes with “the harsh reality of the real world, such as death.”
With such a fantastic team and director behind the film, it wouldn’t be surprising if the real meaning behind the film was a lot deeper than everyone gives it credit for.
Read the full theory below:
Barbie in the start is shot how a child plays with them. She doesn’t walk to her car, she floats down, there isn’t water in Barbie land because it’s a dollhouse, Barbie’s clothes are magically waiting for her in the closet because a child puts them there, etc. so what if instead of this about Barbie becoming self aware, it’s about a child growing up? The harsh reality of the real world such as death. Maybe it’s a dumb theory but I think it’s a cool concept!