Barbie, the blockbuster movie that is this year’s mass culture phenomenon, has drawn a mixed reaction from critics and the public alike.
Some love it — they’re the ones who have gone multiple times to see the movie — while others either have shrugged their shoulders, “It was okay….” or have been outright hostile to it.
It is both surprising, but not shocking, that Barbie has grossed more than a billion dollars. While it has had the good fortune to come out in a summer of fairly-boring movies, it also undeniably is a film that is like no other in recent memory. It appeals to young and old alike, featuring an all-star, multi-generational cast, including two of Hollywood’s Most Beautiful People (Ryan Gosling and Margot Robbie), Rhea Perlman, Issa Rae, Kate McKinnon, Dua Lipa (in a cameo role), Will Ferrell, America Ferrera, Simu Liu, and Helen Mirren (as the Narrator).
For those of us of an older generation, Barbie brings to mind the Wizard of Oz (though the plot of Barbie is the reverse of Dorothy’s journey from reality to fantasy), both on a superficial level (the bright visuals and use of music) and its deeper meaning (the loss of innocence).
Barbie is not without its flaws and, as with any work of art, has its proponents and detractors. However, it undeniably is just plain fun and accomplishes the goal of every great summertime movie — it transports us to another world for two hours in an air-conditioned theatre, far removed from the searing heat and troubles of the world outside.