Barbie Movie Review: Greta Gerwig and Margot Robbie Bring Barbie to Life in Sensational Fashion

Barbie Stars Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling and is Directed by Greta Gerwig

Review: Greta Gerwig and Margot Robbie deliver on one of the year’s most colorful and sincere trips to the movies. Barbie is a movie that transcends style and set design, offering a visual feast with enough laughs along the way.

Barbie review Margot Robbie Greta Gerwig movie

Greta Gerwig’s Barbie is a masterful exercise in craft. As one of the most delicately constructed worlds put together on screen this decade, it’s no surprise that Barbie has become a household name for a movie, because it delightfully takes a refreshing spin on the household toy that it’s riffing on.

I had a chance to see Barbie a few weeks back on its opening Thursday, where it played to an eager crowd of moviegoers desperately wanting to get their hands on this candy-coated surrealist comedy. I’ve been a big fan of Gerwig’s work in the past – both directing and acting – and so nearly anything she’s credited on, I’ll seek it out if I can.

And Barbie is certainly worth the praise it’s getting because it infuses the same sense of jubilance and warm energy that blankets each of her previous two releases. Greta Gerwig put together many of the best sets I’ve seen this year, an aspect that I prefer much more here than I did in Little Women in 2019 – mostly because the period piece elements in that film don’t allow her creative prospects to shine like they do here.

She’s also working with a script and cast that offers a more rambunctious tone, elevating the color palettes and worldviews associated with them. Margot Robbie stars as Stereotypical Barbie, and her kinetic energy blends perfectly with the environment she’s set in. Every detail to the movie feels crafted specifically for her and Ryan Gosling (as Ken of course).

The themes of Barbie work well, offering enough to stew on for multiple viewings in the future. Barbie feels she’s losing the invincible, perfect quality that has inhabited her for years. In order to restore her sense of place, she and Ken travel to “The Real Word” to resolve the loose ends tied to her sudden feelings of emptiness.

But Barbie ponders on much more than that, dissecting gender roles in our society to great and effective lengths. The movie is shockingly less blunt and preachy than I anticipated given the narrative structure around it, and it felt gratifying seeing a major blockbuster get this material right. Both Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling are offered enough screentime and runway to dive deep into their own characters, giving this movie a rewarding and satisfying third act.

Reviews for Films like Barbie (2023)

The supporting cast is great. America Ferrera and Ariana Greenblatt enter the fold when Barbie and Ken leave Barbie Land. Both further advance the thematic density of mother-daughter relationships and help extend this movie beyond Margot Robbie’s take on the titular character. Simu Liu and Michael Cera play another version of Ken and Allan, respectively, and provide a handful of the best laugh lines within the script.

Perhaps the section of the film that lost me slightly was with Will Ferrell’s role as the Mattel CEO – the company in charge of manufacturing Barbie dolls and holding Barbie Land at arm’s length from regular society. The plotline builds another level of artifice on top of what’s already present without enhancing or deepening the overall story. He provides a few chuckles, but the comedy wears thin when the movie ultimately struggles with concluding his character.

Other than that, I thought it was a real hoot boiling with strong levels of film references and craft. It plays well as an ode to the slapstick comedies of the 1940s, as well as the technicolor vibrancy of the decades that followed. Although maybe not my favorite Greta Gerwig movie – which will inevitably be Lady Bird for the foreseeable future – it’s easy to be won over by the breakneck comedic, colorful energy of Barbie.

Best New Movie

Genre: Adventure, Comedy, Drama

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Barbie Movie Cast and Credits

Barbie movie poster with Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling Greta Gerwig


Margot Robbie as Barbie

Ryan Gosling as Ken

America Ferrera as Gloria

Kate McKinnon as Barbie

Ariana Greenblatt as Sasha

Michael Cera as Allan

Issa Rae as Barbie

Will Ferrell as Mattel CEO

Simu Liu as Ken

Kingsley Ben-Adir as Ken

Emma Mackey as Barbie

Alexandra Shipp as Barbie


Director: Greta Gerwig

Writers: Greta Gerwig, Noah Baumbach

Cinematography: Rodrigo Prieto

Editor: Nick Houy

Composer: Mark Ronson

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