Notice: The following review contains spoilers to Barbie. Please come back after watching the film out in cinema now.
With Greta Gerwig at director chair for Barbie, we expected the film to carry a unique angle on the story and it delivers much more than we have originally expected. Barbie begins with a direct reference to 2001: A Space Odyssey's ape evolution period to introduce the origin of Barbie toy-line and dives into the imaginary world of Barbieland with many variations of Barbie's and Ken's. One day Stereotypical Barbie (Margot Robbie) begins to experience existential crisis, questioning death, manifesting flat feet. That is when she begins her journey into the real world to search for her player, and along came Ken (Ryan Gosling).
To say Barbie is a feminist film is lazy work to jump to quick conclusion, I think it is about compromising and meeting in the middle with gender equality rights. When Ken follows Barbie into the real world, he learns about the patriarchal system, where it is mostly men on top of agencies and running the things. Feeling neglected by Barbie and with this knowledge, when Ken returns to Barbieland, he transforms it into Kendom by brainwashing other Barbies partly through pop culture and consumerism. Finally, all Barbies and Kens understand they have to respect each other and meeting in the middle in order to run an equal society.
The film's reference to 2001: A Space Odyssey and The Matrix are bringing the existential crisis and illusion of choices in the materialism and consumerism world with a comedic disguise. Underlying it, like 2001: A Space Odyssey, Pinocchio or A.I. Artificial Intelligence, is secretly a coming-of-age story from a dreamy imagery (childhood) into a flesh and blood human (adulthood). Unlike Pinocchio and David (of A.I. Artificial Intelligence), Barbie's journey is unbeknownst to her. Just like life is happening and progressing when you are busy making other plans.
Barbie is a rare gem in recent years with such level of original creative freedom and dedication to adapt a toy franchise into a film.