BARBIE. In the halls
perhaps a crime of lese majesty to transform Barbie, the most famous doll since the time of the dinosaurs, into a feminist heroine, author of a revolutionary manifesto against rules, prejudices, gender discrimination, existential misunderstandings? Is it a risky revision, as for certain operas that the aficionado demands to see in their original dimension of noble antiquity? a step longer than the leg, in the name of a strong innovation of the contents that risks destroying rather than building? Or just the arbitrary distortion of the character, delicious beyond any possible criticism and which already contains in itself signs of an era?
None of this. Barbie a pleasant and bizarre film, an unequivocally auteur ultra-blockbuster, in the sense that it is not limited to the representation of a commercial phenomenon with which we all by hook or by crook have come to terms, but also tries to discover their meanings and implications. As already implied with Lady Bird And Little Women, Greta Gerwig is interested in the female point of view, even if expressed by a vamp doll with an armochromatic soul. The film is a play on the screenplay, now brilliant, witty, countercurrent, now insistent and repetitive, of which Gerwig is the author with her partner Noah Baumbach, and in which they enter themes such as the relationship between mother and daughter, feeling inadequate in the face of unattainable common models, the recovery of humanity in an age of artificial correctthe sense of mutual dependence between men and women or, better, between human beings.
In a metaphorical key, the story of the contrast between the Barbie army and the Ken legion, whose blond and muscular leader is defined as a nice concentrate of proteins. The Barbieland battlefield, the perfect pastel-colored village with a prevalence of candy-pink, where everything works and where the doll with wheat-colored hair and moon-like skin is kicked out because it doesn't work (but do you think?). The pink village, photographed by Rodrigo Prieto, promises to become a cult image of cinema: beyond fashions, virtual models, forms and spaces for in-depth study. Barbie collects thoughts of death from the universe of humans and this breaks the pseudo-happiness spell. The augmented and digitized world is confronted with a real world that resembles Hollywood, the factory of dreams, illusions (and delusions). There, in the real world, poor soul Barbie finds refugechased by Ken always a cicinin tontarello, and transforms the threat into a modern, baroque, unconventional fairy tale. Barbie not the usual Disney princess: a plastic woman forced to come out of her shell and regain a social position.
She is beautiful, but suffers body shaming and out of comfort zones she finds herself penalized and bewildered. Ken is not a boyfriend to devote himself to as a patient wife, but a blond friend, a male counterpart. In the incipit, the super doll bursts into the puppets and children's wooden toys like the monolith Of 2001: A Space Odyssey.
The Barbie project was born from an idea of Margot Robbie who, with Warner had bought the rights to the film. Gerwig says she was terrified at first. Barbie not a superhero to tell. an icon of the twentieth century. So he asked for help from his partner, Noah Baumbach, also a director, prompting him to get excited. The adaptation born during the pandemic, with that feeling of being alone in our little boxes. There was an intention to do something anarchic, says Gerwig. Indeed, the film has clear outlines, but a substantial deregulation of meanings. The horizon changes profile when Barbie's feet go flat and can't stand stilettos when the cold shower and the toast burn. Midway through an elaborate dance number, Robbie asks, "Do you ever think about dying?" The girl who should love her accuses you: You are a fascist, a symbol of capitalism.
Barbie was created in 1959 by Ruth Handler, co-founder of Mattel (who reappears as a ghost in the film). Since then an indispensable presence in the female fantasy universe. Gerwig describes the training path of a synthetic girl, out of part, a kind of Pinocchio who from an undisciplined puppet becomes an adorable child. Therefore, the analysis of a metamorphosis: Gerwig, born in Sacramento, California, in 1983, describes childhood as a moment in which you are at peace with the world while adolescence is the moment in which you realize you are no longer so. The interpreters are really convincing: first of all Margot Robbie, who comes from a splendid characterization of Harley Quinn, the Joker's girlfriend. But we also like the nonchalance of Ryan Gosling, grappling with the difficult character of Ken the thick jujube.
BARBIE by Greta Gerwig
(Usa-Canada, 2023, duration 114')
Starring Margot Robbie, Ryan Gosling, America Ferrera, Kate McKinnon, Michael Cera, Arian Greenblatt, Issa Rae
Rating: *** out of 5
In the halls
July 22, 2023 | 09:23
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