Breaking Down the Hollywood Discourse Surrounding the ‘Barbie’ Movie


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Oppenheimer may be about an atomic bomb, but Barbie’s the movie causing a pop culture explosion.

“My hope for the movie is that it’s an invitation for everybody to be part of the party and let go of the things that aren’t necessarily serving us as either women or men,” director Greta Gerwig told The New York Times in an interview published on Tuesday, July 25.

The highly-anticipated film — which was released on July 21 and stars Margot Robbie as the titular character alongside Ryan Gosling as Ken — raked in in $162 million on opening weekend. The satirical comedy bested Oppenheimer nearly twice-over.

The movie centers on Barbie and Ken as they leave the safety of Barbie World following an existential crisis — “Do you ever think about dying?” Barbie asks her fellow dolls on the dance floor — and head into the unknown of the real world. It’s a film about identity, breaking barriers and questioning the boxes society places us in.

While nearly all of Tinseltown has been decked out in pink even prior to the film’s release, not everyone is on board with some of the movie’s progressive themes — and the haters have made their criticism known.

Keep scrolling for the Hollywood discourse on Barbie:

The Stans

Jenna Bush Hager was openly “weeping” while taking daughter Poppy to see the Barbie movie. The Today With Hoda & Jenna cohost praised the film for its humanistic themes, noting on Tuesday, July 25, that the movie showed “what it means to be human, what it means to be a woman, what it means to be a mother, all of those things.”

Eva Mendes, meanwhile, couldn’t wait to gush about Gosling as Ken, whom she called “Mi Hombre, Mi Vida, Mi Amor” in an effusive Instagram post earlier this month praising her longtime partner in the role. Mendes opted to quote Gerwig’s commentary to Rolling Stone, in which she hailed Gosling’s performance as “some combination of Marlon Brando meets Gene Wilder meets John Barrymore meets John Travolta.”

Even Amy Schumer — who was initially cast as Barbie in the project before the film and its production went in a different direction — had nothing but good things to say about the film.

“Really enjoyed Barbie and Oppenheimer but I think I should have played Emily Blunt‘s role [in Oppenheimer],” she quipped via Twitter on Monday, July 24.

The Barbie-Burning Backlash

For all of the worldwide Barbie love, the movie was also met with drama — with some critiques more legitimate than others.

Robbie joked to People on the day of the movie’s release that her friends were horrified that she didn’t lock lips with Gosling at any part in the film.

“All of my girlfriends were like, ‘Well you did a whole movie with him and you don’t kiss? What’s wrong with you?’ I thought you were kind of in charge on this one!’” she quipped.

Robbie’s friends’ lighthearted humor, however, was no match for men in power who derided film’s feminist themes and political undertones. Sen. Ted Cruz called the movie “propaganda,” while controversial political commentator Ben Shapiro lambasted Barbie as a “flaming garbage heap” and criticized its “woke” narrative. He also shared a YouTube video of his thoughts titled, “Ben Shapiro DESTROYS The Barbie Movie for 43 Minutes,” in which he destroyed Barbie and Ken dolls by setting them ablaze.

Celebs React to Barbie Movie The Stans The Defenders and The Critics 301
Jenny Anderson/ABC

The Defenders

Whoopi Goldberg, for her part, was having none of it when discussing Cruz and Shapiro’s commentary on The View.

“It’s a movie! It’s a movie about a doll!” Goldberg, 67, declared. “I thought y’all would be happy. [Barbie] has no genitalia, so there’s no sex involved. Ken has no genitalia, so he can’t — it’s a doll movie!”

Her View cohost Alyssa Farah Griffin, meanwhile, slammed the men for feeling “emasculated” by the movie.

The Fashion, Because Pink Is the New Pink

Forget any of the naysayers — if Barbie managed to get one thing right, it is the fashion. (And not just in the film, though it wouldn’t surprise Us if costume designer Jacqueline Durran was headed for another Oscar.) At every red carpet event promoting the movie Robbie was decked out in variations of actual Barbie outfits through the years — and every movie-goer followed suit.

Kim and Khloé Kardashian rocked the doll’s signature color while taking their daughters and nieces to the World of Barbie Experience in Los Angeles in early July; Kourtney Kardashian opted for hot pink jorts when seeing the film. Bush Hager, 41, sported a pink sweater at the movies while watching Barbie with her 7-year-old daughter, who wore Barbie shorts for the occasion.

Gerwig, for one, was in awe of the reach of the film — and its fashion. “It’s been amazing to walk around and see people in pink,” she told The New York Times. “Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine something like this.”

Matchbox 20 s Rob Thomas Reacts to Push in Barbie Greta Gerwig Explains Ryan Gosling s Cover 262

Greta Gerwig.
Anthony Harvey/Shutterstock

The Music

Not only is the Barbie soundtrack so stacked with talent we don’t even know where to begin — see: Nicki Minaj and Ice Spice‘s “Barbie World,” Lizzo‘s “Pink,” Dua Lipa‘s “Dance the Night and many more — Gosling’s “I’m Just Ken” is the powerhouse performance that everyone can’t stop talking about.

“He has a beautiful voice, and he’s a beautiful dancer. We got there organically,” Gerwig told Rolling Stone on Wednesday, July 25, when explaining how she managed to get the former Mickey Mouse Club member to actually show off his singing chops in the film. “I think if I had said, ‘I want you to sing and dance in this movie,’ he would not have necessarily done that for me. But it was kind of that thing of boiling a lobster. I think by the time he was singing and dancing, he didn’t even totally know how we had gotten there. But he’s so fabulous at it.”

Meanwhile, the scene of all of the Kens singing Matchbox 20’s “Push” to the Barbies on the beach? Iconic. Even MB20 frontman Rob Thomas was here for it — even though he thought the band would be the “butt of the joke” at first.

“I want to preface this by saying I thought it was hilarious,” the musician told USA Today, adding that Gerwig is “one of my crushes forever.”

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