After the media storm and the “everything in pink” advertising mania, even New daily compass approached with extreme caution and reluctance the success of the summer: Barbie. The place does not bode well. Will it be an ordinary feminist and an awakened meatloaf? The director, on the other hand, is Greta Gerwig, the one directing the remake. snow White without dwarfs and, most importantly, without a prince. Instead of Barbie it is, at least in the end, a pleasant surprise, a funny, self-deprecating film with two great performers (Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling, respectively, Barbie and Ken) who lend depth and humanity to the plastic characters.
The film starts like any feminist pamphlet.. In a faithful re-release of the opening scenes 2001 Space Odyssey Kubrick, the girls of yesteryear meet their monolith, the giant Barbie, and smash their dolls into rocks, a gesture of violent rebellion against their role as mothers. Thus, Barbie is a feminist utopia. She lives in a land of dreams, Barbieland, where female dolls can become whoever they want, they are rewarded, praised, they work on construction sites and fly into space, they are happy and loved even with excess weight, they dance even with excess weight. wheelchair, they’re from the Nobel and they have a black president. But if someone gets pregnant, they take him out of the market and hide him. There are boys, Kens, but they are just accessories. Ken exists, waiting for the eye, the attention of Barbie, otherwise he won’t be there. Dream or nightmare? The stereotypical Barbie (the first blonde we all know) starts thinking about death at some point. This is problem. To solve it, he will have to go out into the real world, contact the host child and understand what is bothering her. Ken follows her.
In the real world, Barbie is in danger of ending up like Pinocchio. She will find that men are still at the helm, even at the Mattel company that created her. Ken begins to exalt himself, if only because he is respected as a person, and not just as an accomplice. Barbie meets “her” little girl, who has grown up not in the era of utopian feminism, but in the modern era, consisting of hatred and gender struggle. And this is a head-on collision, the doll is insulted and kicked out for being a “fascist”. Meanwhile, the gentlemen at Mattel are after her because no living Barbie is supposed to appear in the real world. The only thing that saves the poor beautiful doll is that she meets her real owner: the mother of a little girl, a mature woman who personifies a failed and disillusioned feminism. He still dreams of a world where women rule and decides to follow “his” doll to Barbieland. In the meantime, however, Ken has taken over and turned it into a Kendom patriarchy, all horses, muscles, cowboy hats and beer, a caricature of Western machismo.
In a crescendo of pop delirium and surreal humor, as you might expect, Barbies are back in power, even with the blessing of Mattel (who doesn’t need a product for men: they have “feminist” men at the top for marketing). And if the movie ended there, it could be considered funny but pointless. But no, because the ending gives him a level-up kick. In a touching dialogue between Barbie and her creator, the ghost Ruth Handler, the doll finally decides to become human by accepting reality: sooner or later she will grow old and die. However, it becomes human because it wants to stop being an idea in order to become a part of creation and a creator in turn. And the director shows her, in the human version, to the gynecologist: she introduces herself with her last name and first name and is expecting a baby. The woman’s initial break with the role of mother is finally healed by an act of maturity. And the man? Ken matures the moment he accepts himself as a person and not just as a Barbie accessory. Thus, Gerwig offered us, perhaps unintentionally, a reasonable way out of the tunnel of gender struggle.
The film was banned in most of the Muslim world., because, for example, “goes against the values of faith and morality” (Lebanon), “propagates homosexuality and transsexuality” (Algeria), spreads “ideas and beliefs that are alien to Kuwaiti society and public order” (Kuwait). Quite a strange accusation, to be honest, considering that the film does not even feature homosexual characters, there is no nudity, not even sex scenes. By today’s standards, it’s almost a prim production. However, in the Islamic world, a film by an American director about a doll created by a Jewish entrepreneur that has become a symbol of the American way of life is poorly digested. And above all, a story about women and men is unimaginable, in which the family is never mentioned. Even when Barbie is pregnant, the viewer doesn’t know whose, as if it’s an “irrelevant” detail. At the same time, Greta Gerwig is still a feminist in the classical sense of the term. Even if she made a film about feminism with a disappointed and ironic look. It showed the failure of the ideology and invited women (and men) to reclaim their natural identities. In the era of the awakened revolution, naturalness is already courage.