Barbie ★★★★★

we all knew barbie was going to be funny. we all knew it’d have something to say about the “female coming-of-age,” as all of greta gerwig’s movies have thus far. and we all knew margot robbie and ryan gosling would turn in note-perfect performances as barbie and ken. and they did.

what i didn’t know was how much barbie would mean - not truly, not fully. how much it would mean to me, to the women sitting to my left and right, to all of us. the depth and breadth of its central message was something i couldn’t have ever anticipated, despite having the utmost faith in greta gerwig at every twist and turn. and even though i’d been looking forward to this film for years (five, in fact), it hit me right when i needed it most.
a movie about growing up and realizing womanhood isn’t all pink, pleasure, and possibility. realizing that much of the world will hate you - always - no matter what you do, simply because of who you are. realizing that there comes a point when you either have to accept complacency within the patriarchy, or ostracization and vilification outside of it.

or, maybe there’s another way. maybe womanhood isn’t all the fun and freedom we dreamed up in our youth, but maybe we don’t have to abandon it entirely either. maybe, just maybe, once we accept and begrudgingly embrace the often brutal reality of our everyday existence - while still retaining our inner strength at the same time - we can better reconcile all these cultural complications and contradictions and find a way to move through the world cautiously, but authentically. reveling in our - and the world’s - flaws instead of willfully overlooking them in favor of the “fantasy.” at long last.

i learned these lessons a little late, because i started living as a woman a little late. in fact, i still have some learning to do. and sometimes, that scares me. but movies like this - art like this - make that education just a little bit easier. so thank you, barbie. you’re everything. and so am i.

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Zoë Rose Bryant liked these reviews