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Does the new ‘Barbie’ movie live up to the hype? : NPR

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The hosts of NPR’s Pop Tradition Blissful Hour share their ideas on the brand new “Barbie” movie.



MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

“Barbie” is right here. As if you happen to in some way missed this information, we’re speaking in regards to the movie starring Margot Robbie as one in all many Barbies and Ryan Gosling as one in all many Kens residing amongst plenty of pink in Barbie Land. However bother arises when Barbie – the one performed by Robbie – has an existential disaster.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, “BARBIE”)

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: (As character) That is the most effective day ever.

MARGOT ROBBIE: (As Barbie) It’s the greatest day ever. So was yesterday. And so is tomorrow and on daily basis from now till endlessly.

DUA LIPA: (Singing) I might dance.

ROBBIE: (As Barbie) You guys ever take into consideration dying?

(SOUNDBITE OF RECORD SCRATCH)

MARTIN: So she units out on a journey from Barbie Land to the true world in a quest for, nicely, which means. The film comes out in the present day, however our pals at NPR’s Pop Tradition Blissful Hour received a peek. And we’re asking them if the film really lives as much as the hype. Stephen Thompson, Linda Holmes, Aisha Harris talked about it with movie critic and journalist Bedatri D. Choudhury.

STEPHEN THOMPSON, BYLINE: There are a great deal of jokes, a great deal of pink units, a great deal of needle drops and unique songs and a great deal of no matter is happening with Ryan Gosling’s hair. “Barbie” was directed by Greta Gerwig, who additionally directed “Girl Hen” and “Little Girls,” and it was written by Gerwig and her associate, Noah Baumbach. “Barbie” is in theaters now. Bedatri D. Choudhury, I’ll begin with you. What did you consider “Barbie”?

BEDATRI D CHOUDHURY: Oof. I believe it is so much. Did I’ve plenty of enjoyable? Sure, I did. Nevertheless it’s nonetheless, like – it does not sit very nicely, however in a really enjoyable approach.

THOMPSON: How do you imply does not sit very nicely?

CHOUDHURY: I do not know. And, like, I would love to speak extra about this with you guys. Like, the very first thing I assumed after I got here out of the theater was, is it camp? And that for me as a tradition journalist and movie critic is essentially the most horrific query as a result of if it is camp and you do not get it, that is, like, the worst factor. You would possibly as nicely cease writing about movies.

AISHA HARRIS, BYLINE: That is an excellent level.

CHOUDHURY: Yeah. Having stated that, I had a lot enjoyable. Like, I grew up within the ’90s. I had these dolls. So that they do handle to make the journey plenty of enjoyable.

THOMPSON: OK. How about you, Holmesy (ph)?

LINDA HOLMES, BYLINE: I had a lot enjoyable at this film. I believe they executed it with monumental panache when it comes to the manufacturing design. I actually love the performances. I believe Margot Robbie is surprisingly poignant on this film, which you sort of will perceive higher, I believe, as soon as you’ve got seen it. However, , like Bedatri, I really feel conflicted about all the things it is attempting to say. There’s plenty of textual critique of patriarchy and critique of capitalism and critique of Mattel.

CHOUDHURY: LOL.

HOLMES: And it is like, what does it imply to have these textual critiques when all of the extratextual stuff, together with how the film was made, how the film is being marketed, who the film goes to learn – all of that stuff is all going down firmly inside all of those programs as a result of, for instance, once you’re doing critique of Mattel and its very male management, that very male management would not have signed off on this film in the event that they thought it was going to harm them.

CHOUDHURY: Yeah.

HOLMES: However on the identical time, I cherished this film. I believe the performances, like I stated, are nice. I had a beautiful time, and I believe it is tremendous humorous.

THOMPSON: Aisha Harris, what did you consider “Barbie”?

HARRIS: I imply, there’s, after all, that pressure between artwork and commerce that’s all the time going to exist. And there are methods and examples of this the place it might actually, actually, actually work. See “The Lego Film.” The distinction between this and “The Lego Film” is that so far as I can bear in mind, Lego didn’t have as practically as a lot baggage as Barbie does and Barbie comes with. And so underneath that pressure between artwork and commerce, you even have this kind of added layer of pressure between the sharp political critique of the system whereas functioning explicitly as a product of that system. You realize, I actually had plenty of enjoyable with this. What I believe places it excessive for me or makes it work even when it does not all the time work for me or work total are the performances, is the truth that Greta Gerwig, for me, has been in a position to take all of those kind of acquainted tales in her earlier directorial motion pictures and produce one thing new and fascinating to them. And I do suppose it is good, really, with plenty of buts and plenty of caveats.

THOMPSON: Yeah. And I assume one in all my reactions to that’s like, what’s the different? How would you get across the critiques that we have sort of leveled on this dialog thus far? Like, you are not going to make a Barbie film with out Mattel’s log off. Capitalism has its tendrils in each aspect of main moviemaking.

HOLMES: I imply, the choice’s different motion pictures.

HARRIS: Sure.

HOLMES: You realize?

CHOUDHURY: Yeah.

(LAUGHTER)

CHOUDHURY: I additionally suppose different is that you do not put in a lot cash into one movie. It is simply…

THOMPSON: Positive.

CHOUDHURY: …Thoughts-boggling for me.

THOMPSON: I assume it is simply fascinating. There is a scene on this film that basically stands out. There is a monologue on this movie wherein a personality sort of lays out the actually complicated net of pressures on girls in society. And also you’re anticipated to do that, however not this and this, however not this. And it’s a must to push for issues however not push too onerous. And it is sort of just a little little bit of a Being a Girl 101.

HARRIS: Sure, very a lot.

THOMPSON: It is fairly blunt. Many would argue it is fairly crucial to place it on this movie. It is also sort of a meta commentary on what this film is attempting to do, proper? This film is attempting to take action, a lot and steadiness these very, very, very contradictory impulses. They wish to touch upon the patriarchy and society and feminism whereas nonetheless being a giant mainstream film. It is fascinating to me that this movie at one level sort of stops and nearly lays out the large process that it has given itself.

HOLMES: Yeah. However I believe in case you are a lady, you’re a girl, and you do not have the choice of deciding like, I am simply not going to be a lady as a result of the sort of thought of that’s too difficult. Whereas you possibly can determine, I am not going to make a Barbie film. And so I believe the stakes are just a little bit totally different. However I do suppose the movie is organising a parallel between what it is prefer to attempt to be a lady and what it is prefer to attempt to be a Barbie film. I am unsure I…

CHOUDHURY: Yeah.

HOLMES: …See that parallel. One of many issues I believe is fascinating is that this movie to me is a very good instance of what number of totally different crafts are concerned in…

CHOUDHURY: Yeah.

HOLMES: …Making a movie actually important and fantastic as a result of the manufacturing design of that is great. The supporting performances and, thus, the casting are great – , music supervision.

THOMPSON: Oh, boy. Get me began.

HOLMES: I believe it is pretty to have a movie come out that basically places the highlight on not simply the writing and never simply the performing, though I believe each are actually robust, however each sort of ingredient of this movie. You may see so many crafts actually popping on this film, and that was one thing I appreciated so much.

AQUA: (Singing) I am a Barbie lady within the Barbie world.

MARTIN: That was Pop Tradition Blissful Hour hosts Linda Holmes, Aisha Harris and Stephen Thompson, together with movie critic and tradition journalist Bedatri D. Choudhury.

Copyright © 2023 NPR. All rights reserved. Go to our web site phrases of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for additional info.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This textual content might not be in its ultimate type and could also be up to date or revised sooner or later. Accuracy and availability might range. The authoritative report of NPR’s programming is the audio report.

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