I went to the Barbie movie hoping to prove the naysayers wrong and find it as innocent and edifying as its promoters and fans have purported it to be. But scene by scene, my hopes were destroyed.
I left the theater confused, as much by the movie’s lack of cohesion and apparent purpose as by the praises being sung of it—including by some conservative friends.
Maybe I’m just as ignorant as Stereotypical Barbie herself, too out-of-sync with the culture, or simply heartless. But I doubt that’s it. I think there’s good reason for me, and others, to conclude this film one hot mess. Moms, I wouldn’t advise you to take your young daughters, or go at all.
The opening scene has little girls playing with baby dolls in the desert, seeming bored. Thankfully, a giant Barbie appears, promising to bring them out of their “doll-drums.” They’re free now to rip off the shackles; i.e., to begin smashing up their babies, crushing them violently on nearby rocks.
Was I supposed to laugh at the pregnant Barbie that was discontinued because she was too boring or weird? Did I miss the humor in Barbie World being just about guys and gals having a good time on the beach, no children in sight? Silly me, always taking things so seriously.
Maybe the edification was to come when the real world flashed in, bringing feelings and complications. I did see a glimmer of hope for a few moments, but it didn’t hold up, with all of the talk of patriarchy and how it’s ruined civilization. Or, maybe that was meant as a joke?
The opportunity to show that men and women were made for each other, and that each bears unique burdens—but that we’re meant to uplift one another—was missed. Instead, the film promoted disunity. Scenes of human tenderness undoubtedly touched hearts, but they made zero sense within the larger context.
Ultimately, this film unwittingly exposes a world without faith in God, one that is plastic and unfeeling, lacking the truth that each of us was uniquely, fearfully and wonderfully made by a good God. It was a fail on the grandest scale. Instead of a cohesive vision, it revealed an adult-centric world that despises itself.
I hate to break it to you, Barbie and Ken, but until you realize you were made for love, and by love, and understand as key the sacred union of male and female—not autonomy of the sexes—the high you’re on from your box-office smash will soon fall as flat as your newfound feet.
[For the sake of having a repository for my newspaper columns and articles, I reprint them here, with permission, a week after their run date. The preceding ran in The Forum newspaper on August 7, 2023.]