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Film REVIEW: Barbie (2023) - ★★★★★

Updated: Oct 22, 2023

The new Barbie movie is a smart and satirical live-action reboot scripted by the best writing team in Hollywood.

From the surreal Barbie trailer to Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling’s most mortifying moment on the movie set, here’s everything you need to know.

Director: Greta Gerwig

Writer: Greta Gerwig, Noah Baumbach

based on Barbie by Mattel

Stars: Margot Robbie, Ryan Gosling, America Ferrera, Kate McKinnon, Issa Rae, Rhea Perlman, Will Ferrell, Helen Mirren.

Genre: Adventure, Comedy, Fantasy

Themes: Barbie, Existential Crisis, Gender Roles

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

ts simultaneous release with Universal's Oppenheimer led to the "Barbenheimer" cultural phenomenon, which encouraged audiences to see both films as a double feature.

The film received critical acclaim

In Cinemas Now


Nina (Age 11) - ★★★★★

"I loved this movie. Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling are some of the best actors I've seen in movies. I love the song, 'I'm just Ken' and' dance the night away' by dua lipa. This is a good movie but it is very long with a lot of talking. It is very funny. I find the part when every girl except midge is called Barbie and how every boy apart from Alan is called Ken. I would recommend it to people who like Barbie. I would say 10+ is a good age. I rate the Barbie movie 4.9 stars. "

Euan (Age 12) - ★★★★

"I thought it was really funny when Barbie and Ken went to the real world and they wear wearing really weird neon outifts and they thought that the people were really liking their outfit but they were really just laughing at them. I also thought the moral of the story was great."

Sophie (Age 10) - ★★★★★

"Both my mum and I really enjoyed this movie. The soundtrack was awesome and there were so many funny parts to the film! My mum remembered so much from her childhood. There was a really lovely message to the film as well and I would recommend anyone who loves Barbie a watches it. The best part of the movie was the Ken song. Ryan Gosling was fantastic!"

Have you seen it yet?


Barbie buzz - Why is everyone talking about the new Barbie movie?

Fun fact: there are forty Barbie movies out there already. Every last one of them is a candy-sweet cartoon, perfect for preschool pyjama parties. But the Barbie movie is something completely different. For the first time in her 64-year career, Barbie might actually be – whisper it – cool.

In the wrong hands, a live-action Barbie film could be an unforgivable cheese-fest. The revelation is that Warner Brothers has put together a dream-team that elevates the new Barbie movie to something hip, witty and genuinely intriguing. The ball started rolling with the arrival of one of the hottest writer-directors on the planet, Greta Gerwig (Little Women, Isle of Dogs), known for hipster indie classics like Frances Ha and 2017’s Oscar-nominated Lady Bird.

“Anything where you’re like, ‘This could be a career-ender’, you should probably do it,” says Gerwig, who co-wrote the Barbie screenplay with her creative (and romantic) partner, the equally acclaimed Noah Baumbach (Fantastic Mr. Fox, Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted). And once a director of her calibre was attached, the cream of Hollywood couldn’t sign on fast enough, with Margot Robbie (The Legend of Tarzan) and Ryan Gosling (La La Land, The Notebook) leading a Barbie cast whose star-wattage is insane. But we’ll get to that.


New Barbie movie story - What is the plot of Barbie 2023?

As Mattel’s top-selling fashion doll since 1959, Barbie’s biggest challenge is coordinating skinny jeans with stilettos. That doesn’t make a great movie, though, and developing a plot with stakes cost Gerwig some sleepless nights. “It felt like vertigo, starting to write it,” she told Vanity Fair. “Like, ‘Where do you even begin, and what would be the story?’”

Gerwig has kept plot specifics close for now (although one rumour suggests the film will find Barbie lost in the ‘real’ world). At least the Helen Mirren (Monsters University, RED)-narrated Barbie trailer gives us a steer on the tone of the movie. We open on a beach populated by little girls playing with drab baby-dolls (a brilliant parody of Stanley Kubrick’s opening shot in 2001: A Space Odyssey).

Suddenly, a Kong-sized Barbie looms over them in swimsuit and shades, and the kids smash their dolls to dust as they gaze upon the new queen of the toybox. Then it’s off to a perfect recreation of Barbie’s Malibu kingdom, where the sun always shines, buildings are fondant-pink and life’s a dancefloor.

It’s the best trailer we’ve seen in ages: bright and breezy enough for the little girls who are Barbie’s natural demographic, but with the smart, satirical and surreal touches that mean adults will book tickets without a flicker of embarrassment.


Margot Robbie as Barbie - How does she approach the lead role?

You’ve got to hand it to Margot Robbie: the Australian actress has the most eclectic filmography in Hollywood. One minute, she’s starring in straight-up awards bait like Babylon, Mary Queen Of Scots and I, Tonya. The next, she’s poking fun at herself in Suicide Squad or playing an eleven-inch plastic doll.

Most top actresses probably wouldn’t dare touch a role like Barbie. But from what we’ve seen so far, Robbie has laughed off the naysayers, made the role her own and turned the movie into a serious talking point.

I know what the expectation was at the beginning when Barbie was announced, but it’s not going to be that,” she said in a red-carpet interview. “I’m really excited. As much hype as there’s gonna be, I think people are still gonna really like the movie.


Ryan Gosling in Barbie - What do we know about his role as Ken?

Barbie can’t rattle around the Dream House on her own all day. Enter her hunky himbo Ken, played by Ryan Gosling. Like Robbie, the actor is best-known for highly regarded dramas like Drive and Blade Runner 2049.

But Gosling told Jimmy Fallon the Barbie screenplay by Gerwig and Baumbach was “the best script I’ve ever read” and he found himself wanting to tell the hard-luck story of a character who is always put in the shade by his glamorous partner. “Ken’s got no money, he’s got no job, he’s got no car, he’s got no house,” Gosling told Entertainment Tonight. “He’s going through some stuff.”


Cast of Barbie 2023 - Who else appears in the new Barbie movie?

Will Ferrell (Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy) will play the CEO of Barbie’s toy company Mattel, while big names like America Ferrera (Ugly Betty/Superstore/How to Train Your Dragon series), Emma Mackey (Death On The Nile/Emily) and Michael Cera (Juno/Superbad/Scott Pilgrim vs. the World) are confirmed to drop in.

Meanwhile, just as there’s a thousand different Barbie and Ken models in the toy shops, we’re intrigued by the variants of the dolls played by Issa Rae (Awkward Black Girl/Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse/The Hate U Give) and Simu Liu (Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings/Kim's Convenience).


Barbie age rating - Who can watch the Barbie movie?

Based on her animated adventures, you might expect the Barbie movie age rating to be ‘U’ all day long. But Greta Gerwig wanted to make a movie with a smart mouth and a satirical edge, which explains why the Barbie movie has a 12A rating for ‘moderate innuendo and implied strong language’. Don’t worry: you can bring all your Barbie-loving kids safe in the knowledge the adult jokes will sail straight over their innocent little heads.


Barbie costumes - What kind of wardrobe malfunctions can we expect from the new Barbie movie?

Clothes are kind of a big deal to Barbie and Ken, and the new movie won’t disappoint. Don’t forget, last June, Robbie and Gosling were snapped filming a scene on Venice Beach wearing neon roller skates, garish unitards and nausea-inducing gilets. “I can’t tell you how mortified we were, by the way,” the actress told Jimmy Fallon. “We look like we’re laughing, having fun, but we’re dying on the inside.”


You can’t deny you’re intrigued. Far more than a kids’ film (although it’s that too), this is an all-star reboot dreamt up by the sharpest minds in indie cinema, and might just have the same unexpected cultural impact as The Lego Movie before it.

But don’t listen to us, take it from Will Ferrell. “The Barbie movie is, in my humble opinion, the ultimate example of high art and low art,” the comic icon told WSJ. “It’s a loving homage to the brand and, at the same time, couldn’t be more satirical – just an amazing comment on male patriarchy and women in society and why Barbie’s criticised and yet why every little girl still wants to play with Barbie. Boy, when I read it, I was like, ‘This is fantastic…’”

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