The teaser trailer for “Barbie” came out on Dec. 16, 2022, giving viewers a first glimpse into director Greta Gerwig’s highly anticipated film. While the Barbie franchise is generally associated with children, the upcoming movie is rated PG-13, meaning it’s most likely targeted toward adults. Gerwig is known for directing titles such as “Lady Bird” and “Little Women,” two films that tackle adult themes and lean toward an older target demographic. Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling, the stars of the film, have also both worked on projects intended for older audiences. All signs indicate that the “Barbie” movie will be more on the mature side, taking a new angle on the beloved franchise.
According to L’OFFICIEL, “The PG-13 comedy film’s plot can be summarized as a journey of self-discovery. Barbie is kicked out of Barbieland for being unconventional and breaking the rules of what a doll is supposed to look/act like. She goes on a quest to the real world, where she realizes that the concepts of perfection and happiness are not in line with what she previously thought and has to save Barbieland before it’s too late.”
The trailer feels like some strange fever dream, introducing Robbie’s Barbie in gigantic fashion at “the beginning of time.” Considering her wardrobe, this leaves the troubling implication that Barbie is either immortal or capable of time travel, and it is frankly difficult to decide which is worse. But who’s to say that’s actually part of the plot? Leaning further into these absurd vibes, the trailer dives straight into Barbieland with an overwhelming splash of color and sound that can only be described as a combination aerobics competition and Broadway dance break.
The trailer doesn’t depict one sole physical or historical setting, but Barbie’s wardrobe in the promotional material certainly looks like it comes straight out of the ‘70s and ‘80s. While the “Barbie” movie seems to take place in the modern era, the absurd otherworldliness of Barbieland only adds to the confusion caused by the potentially eternal lifespan of the Barbie doll. The setting in time and space is a bit unclear, but, at the very least, Barbie has a favorite era.
Few plot particulars have been revealed thus far, but much has been said about the overall tone of the film, which might help with making some predictions. Thanks to the reputation of the director and the Barbie IP itself, many are excited about the directorial potential of the upcoming release. Harrison Brocklehurst from The Tab thinks “the tone is going to be darker than the ray of sunshine appeal of the IP and the pictures seen so far. I think it’s going to touch a lot on unrealistic body expectations for women and I kind of hope it has a sinister existential undertone.”
The trailer and various statements from the actors seem to confirm the prospect of more thoughtful and mature content. In an interview with Entertainment Tonight, Gosling shared that his character is down on his luck when we meet him in the film. Gosling claimed that “Ken’s got no money, he’s got no job, he’s got no car, he’s got no house. You know, he’s going through some stuff.” Serious stuff, clearly, especially in what most would expect to be a child-oriented and lighthearted film.
When Barbie is kicked out of Barbieland, audiences will most likely experience her journey into the real world as she tries to find out who she is and what she stands for outside of the expectations set for her. This raises some interesting questions and ideas with a level of depth that one wouldn’t typically associate with the Barbie brand. The trailer shows Barbie wearing flashy outfits, and behind the scenes pictures show her driving her famous pink corvette, but if she’s a doll who has lived in Barbieland up until this point, how can she afford the clothes, the car and (of course) her signature dream house?
Speaking of those flashy and eccentric outfits, the Barbie brand has been centered around looks since its inception, and has faced some criticism for it. In the teaser trailer, audiences see little girls destroy their baby dolls after seeing Barbie for the first time, indicating that her beauty makes her the ideal doll. Because Barbie is supposed to be the ideal image for young girls to look up to, it seems possible that the “Barbie” movie could touch on body image and self-esteem issues, especially when we consider that Barbie is kicked out of Barbieland for being “unconventional.”
In an interview with British Vogue, Robbie says, “people generally hear Barbie and think, ‘I know what that movie is going to be,’ and then they hear that Greta Gerwig is writing and directing it, and they’re like, ‘oh, well, maybe I don’t….’” The “Barbie” trailer leaves many unanswered questions in its wake, most of which will not be addressed until the movie’s release date on July 21, 2023. Gerwig’s films are known to exceed and subvert the expectations of their audiences, and “Barbie” should be no exception. The “Barbie” movie is likely to be a smash hit at the box office, with everyone at the edge of their seats to see how Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling take on the roles of these beloved toys.
Leave a Reply