When I was little, I had a Sindy doll. Not a Barbie. I vaguely remember there being a bit of rivalry, but I’m not sure what about.
My friend had a Barbie. And the Barbie Dream House, and car, and a Ken. This is my earliest memory of envy.
Anyway – this little revelation is to illustrate that I certainly wasn’t a Barbie girl as a child.
So I’m genuinely surprised by how much I was looking forward to seeing the new Barbie film! Superb work, giant marketing team!
What’s it like?
I loved it – more than I thought I would, if I’m honest.
I expected it to be funny, sweet and a little bit annoying.
I found it to be funny, engaging all the way through, not annoying at all!
I gave myself the afternoon off to go and see it yesterday, by myself. I waited until our lovely local independent cinema was showing it. And it was packed. With kids and adults all wearing pink. Yes, I wore a pink dress, flamingo necklace and flamingo-strewn cardigan.
I went on my own, (it was ridiculous trying to co-ordinate a time with any friends) so it was quite a bonding start.
It was the first time I’d been to the cinema since before COVID – and I forgot how much I enjoy the collective experience. Especially with an unofficial dress code – secret pinkness!
The only thing about being among a majority children audience is that there were only a few of us giggling at the double entendres. To the point where I checked my understanding of one of the phrases with my husband when I got home!
The two women sat beside me had a bottle of wine in an ice bucket to share, and most of the children had cute little pots of pink sweets. I had a mini tub of our local Fernley’s ice cream – strawberry, of course! Wafts of fresh popcorn moved around the cinema during the film. Yes, I was still thinking about the wasted homemade coffee cake potential when I got home!
What’s the story actually about?
I’m not telling you! I’m not going to risk giving away any of it by telling you a little bit. Find out for yourself.
I will tell you that it’s a story well-told, perfectly paced, and with delightful, often surprising details everywhere.
I was expecting a lot of ‘I’m a Barbie girl, in a Barbie world’. Instead I got a massive, beautiful, unexpected burst of nostalgia from ‘Closer I am to fine’ by the Indigo Girls – it’s expertly woven throughout the film. I was immediately transported back to the memory of belting it out with my two wonderful friends at uni. The familiarity and meaning hit just right.
Greta Gerwig was asked about why she used this song in a New York Times interview and summarises it perfectly:
“The Indigo Girls were part of my growing up,” she told me in an email. “‘Closer to Fine’ is just one of those songs that meets you where you are, wherever you are. It has spoken to me throughout my life, like a novel you revisit.”‘Why is everyone suddenly listening to a staple of my angsty adolescence?’ by Lydia Polgreen, New York Times
Go and listen to the original immediately, is my best advice.
They’re perfect. All of them. Perfect.
Best words in the whole film – the speech given by America Ferrera’s character, Gloria. I’m not going to spoil it. Womanhood articulated beautifully. My version has many, many more swears.
Made with love
You can tell that the whole thing is infused with love and care. In an interview on AD’s Open Door, Greta Gerwig discusses the colour of the set:
“This is the product of so many discussions and so many references. And I can’t even tell you the meetings we’ve had about pink. We sat with all these different kinds of pinks. And we were like, “what is the pink and how do the pinks interact?”Architectural Digest, Open Door, Barbie’s Dream House
I want to watch the whole thing again, just so I can take in all the carefully created details that whizzed by. All the flamingos, Ken’s horse motif, all the elements of Barbie Land…everything!
And I want all of Barbie’s wardrobe. After rejecting the idea of girliness in my teens, I now embrace everything feminine. Well, except the roller boots. No one with my track record of clumsiness should ever attempt roller boots!
Deep and meaningful conclusion…not!
So, I loved it.
What did I love?
- The pinkness
- The flamingo details
- The horse details
- The joy of it
- Ryan Gosling
- Margot Robbie
- The double entendres
- The not over-simplistic, ‘tying everything up in a bow’ ending.
All of it!
Final words must be from the Indigo Girls:
“There’s more than one answer to these questions, pointing me in a crooked line.
The less I seek my source from some definitive, the closer I am to fine.”‘Closer I am to fine,’ Indigo Girls