Margot Robbie – Ryan Gosling – Greta Gerwig- Barbie Movie Review by Efe Teksoy


Cinema Writer/Film Critic Efe TEKSOY; wrote the comedy, adventure, and fantasy film “BARBIE”, for America’s Los Angeles-based Internet Newspaper @alaturkanews.



The first live-action animated Barbie movie from California-based toy company Mattel, based on Barbie fashion dolls, was directed by Greta Gerwig and written by Gerwig with Noah Baumbach. Appearing initially as a children’s movie, Barbie begins its story by making reference to Stanley Kubrick‘s (considered one of the greatest directors of all time) 2001: A Space Odyssey, in the opening sequence. Thus, it announces to us from the beginning that it is not an ordinary box office production. In the movie, we start an ontological and semantic journey with Barbie, who embarks on a journey of self-discovery after an existential nervous breakdown. Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist Victor E. Frankl, founder of the “Third Viennese School of Psychotherapy” and Logotherapy, is one of the most important names in existential therapy. His book Man’s Search for Meaning, which he presented with his experiences in a concentration camp during World War II and which he conveyed to large masses in the context of his own psychiatric teaching, made him one of the most important names in psychology after Sigmund Freud and Alfred Adler. Frankl; “Man’s search for meaning is not a ‘second rationalization’ of instinctive impulses, but the main motivation of his life,” he states, stating that this meaning is individual and special. In Barbie’s journey of existence, we see that Frankl’s recounted search for unique meaning is a factor and provides the basic motivation for her life.



Barbie character; She realizes that the life she lives in Barbieland is a pink curtain drawn before her eyes and that the real world is not actually rosy as it is known. Here, within the framework of the Plastic Dream World and Barbieland in the reality TV set concept; We see references to the movies The Matrix, The Truman Show, and The Wizard of Oz. This brings us to the world of Hyperreality. The works of the French philosopher and sociologist Jean Baudrillard, one of the greatest thinkers of the twentieth century, are mostly associated with postmodernism and post-structuralism, and “Simulation Theory” is undoubtedly one of the most important theoretical studies in the scientific field. In his Simulacra and Simulation book, he developed a theory of contemporary culture based on replacing economic notions of cultural production with notions of cultural expenditure. Baudrillard; “The derivation of a reality devoid of an origin or a reality through models is called hyperreal, that is, simulation.” he explains of the words phenomenon of simulation. Thus, we see that the Barbieland universe is actually a hyperreality universe that imitates reality. Presenting a story adorned with feminist narrative elements, the Barbie movie essentially tells us; brings to the screen the contradictions and difficulties of being a woman in a patriarchal order with a sophisticated language that focuses on women’s solidarity.



Living in Barbieland means being a perfect being in a perfect place. Experiencing a crisis that causes her to question her world and existence, Barbie sets out on a quest to find a world she can adapt to. Moving away from the perfect female image of the Fantastic Barbieland, Barbie steps into the real world with a dream of finding a place where she can fit in.

Stars; Margot Robbie, Ryan Gosling, Issa Rae, Kate McKinnon, Alexandra Shipp, Emma Mackey, Hari Nef, Sharon Rooney, Ana Cruz Kayne, Ritu Arya, Dua Lipa, Nicola Coughlan, Emerald Fennell, Simu Liu, Kingsley Ben-Adir, Ncuti Gatwa, Scott Evans, John Cena Helen Mirren (voice) and Will Ferrell.



It is shown with subliminal messages that the realm of Barbieland in the movie, the toy universe, which is a scaled-down replica of human objects, is actually a reflection of adult functions and a copy of the adult world. French philosopher Roland Barthes, one of the founders of European semiotics (semiology) and master of twentieth-century thought and writing, examines the tendency of contemporary social value systems to create modern myths in his book Mythologies, and also looks at the semiology of the myth-making process and updates Ferdinand de Saussure‘s system of sign analysis by adding a second level where signs are elevated to the level of myth. In his essay on toys, Barthes “This is meant to prepare the little girl for the causality of house-keeping, to ‘condition’ her to her future role as a mother” saying, It states that the child is prepared and conditioned to adopt all of these before he has time to think.



Another detail is when Barbie, who escaped to the real world, is trying to be put back in her box by Mattel executives. While trying to get into the box, the character Barbie experiences a Proustian flashback, activated by the scent of the box, triggering her emotional memory. Then the Mattel CEO character makes a joke about how badly “Proust Barbie” sold. Marcel Proust, one of the greatest novelists of the twentieth century, known as the iron chickpea of ​​the literary world, is considered a turning point in modern literature with his work In Search of Lost Time, which consists of approximately one million two hundred and fifty thousand words and 3,000 pages. This recollection of Proust’s intense concentration in the past, when he lived with madeleine and tea in the first volume of his book, is called the “Proust Phenomenon” by neuroscience researchers.



Accompanied by the character of Barbie, who stepped into the adult world in the movie; we are embarking on an important artistic journey with references to cult films in the history of cinema, from The Godfather to Top Gun, Grease and even The Snydercut of Justice League. However, the character of Barbie; When she steps into the real world to understand why she suddenly begins to have thoughts of death, she discovers that a mother named Gloria shares her thoughts. Sasha, the daughter of Gloria, learned this situation; “You too like shining?” ” she asks. This question is actually a reference. It refers to the ability to make telepathic connections in Stephen King’s classic story The Shining, who is known as the king of horror literature.

Adventure and comedy genre Barbie is a fantastic live-action film that draws attention for its artistic as well as fun.




Jean Baudrillard, Simulacra and Simulation (Simülakrlar ve Simülasyon), Oğuz Adanır,translate, Ankara: Doğu Batı Yayınları press, 2014

Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning (İnsanın Anlam Arayışı), çev. Özge Yılmaz, translate, İstanbul: Okuyan Us Yayınevi press, 2023

Roland Barthes, Mythologies (Çağdaş Söylenler), Tahsin Yücel, translate, İstanbul: Metis Yayınları press, 2014


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