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The Scroll

The Student News Site of Fargo North High School

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The Scroll

Barbie: the movie of the year

Barbie was a humorous and deep movie.
Warner Bros Pictures
“Barbie” was a humorous and deep movie.

This summer, quite a few notable movies have been released. “The Little Mermaid,” “Spiderman: Across the Spider-Verse,” and “Oppenheimer,” to name a few. Arguably, one of the most notable was “Barbie,” Greta Gerwig’s highly anticipated blockbuster starring Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling. Released in July of 2023 with a $162 million debut weekend, it has a 83% Rotten Tomatoes audience score. It became the highest grossing movie of 2023. “Barbie” made headlines for contributing to a pink paint shortage, due to them using so much of a certain shade of pink to paint the set. The movie, originally expected to be simply a movie about a very popular toy, turned out to actually have a deeper meaning.
The trailer took the world by storm, specifically the scene where Barbie steps out of her shoes while still standing on her tiptoes. It made “Barbie” one of the most anticipated movies of 2023. The main focus of the trailer was that Barbie was going to go to the real world and learn what it’s like. A few scenes allude to the aforementioned deeper meaning, namely one where Barbie is uncomfortable with the attention she receives from men, but the main consensus was that it would be a happy toy movie. However, the movie had some rather topical messages about womanhood and motherhood, and more generally, what it means to be human.
“Barbie” starts with an opening theme of Lizzo’s “Pink,” documenting what the main Barbie (played by Margot Robbie) does in her normal day-to-day life. She says ‘hi’ to all the Barbies and all the Kens, as well as Alan. Then, an amazing dance sequence happens, ending with the main Ken (played by Ryan Gosling) not being able to stay over. The next day, Margot Barbie has a lot of bad things happen, like falling instead of floating, her feet being flat on the ground, and her shower being cold. She goes to Weird Barbie (a Barbie who was played with too hard and therefore helps all Barbies who have issues) and ends up having to go to the real world to fix the rift between her and the girl who is playing with her, with Ryan’s Ken tagging along.
In the real world, women are much less respected and have less representation in the government, and Margot Barbie learns this very quickly, while Ryan Ken learns primarily about the patriarchy and horses. The exclusively male executives of Mattel learn of her existence and try to put her in a box, which she escapes from. She then meets Sasha, who Barbie thought was the girl playing with her, and her mom, Gloria. Margot Barbie, Sasha, and Gloria travel back to Barbie land but are met with surprising changes. They have to work with the other Barbies to restore order, and Barbie struggles with human emotions.
This was an incredible movie. Besides the message of it, the overall movie had great acting, great visuals, and great references to old Barbies. It was a deeply thought-out movie, and it reflected that. The over-the-top production hides the deep message at first, and shows the rose colored glasses that Margot Barbie has on, so even the parts that felt over-the-top were well thought out.
No part of it was half-done, with in depth ideas of Barbie’s history and womanhood. It had plenty of humor, namely Ryan’s standout performance as Ken, as well as moments to pick at the audience’s heartstrings. Margot Robbie does an incredible job bringing Barbie to the screen, turning happy ignorance into content knowledge.
The ending tied the whole thing together and made it all worth it, as it does. Sasha asks what Margot Barbie’s ending is, and how it shouldn’t be that she is in love with Ryan Ken. Then, Barbie decides to be human. The movie is an amazing dive into what being human means, and what being a woman means.
Barbie sees the real world, and what it is like, and still decides to leave her perfect world, for the advantage of feeling all of the incredible emotions that people experience. Good or bad, Barbie decides she wants them all. Knowing that a bad feeling is just around the corner, but also knowing that the good feelings are worth the risk is a big part of what it means to be human.
On top of that, there is also a dive into what being a woman in the 21st century is like. The patriarchy is an unfortunate truth in this world, and both Barbie and Ken see this. In Barbieland, women are the government, the scientists, and everything in between. However, Barbie sees this reality almost flipped. Women do have roles in the real world, but men have a much more prominent place than women do. Ken sees this and takes it to Barbieland, but Barbie sees this and has to reevaluate her purpose. Ken does get this opportunity as well, but Barbie’s is more drawn out. Barbie has to accept that women are not as empowered as she thought and rethink who she is because of that. In the end, she still leaves.
However, it seems that some people misunderstood this movie. Most of the one-star reviews given to “Barbie” claim it was an anti-men film, dunking on not only men, but masculinity as a concept. And, yes, it does criticize the patriarchy, but it’s evident that isn’t the main point of the film. The point of the film is Barbie realizing who she is, and how she fits into the world. It is not putting down men, it is trying to bring to light the problems we still face today as women..
The overall message of the movie is that we need to work towards a more equal society. In the end, the Barbies in Barbie Land realize what they have been doing to the Kens, and work to rectify it. The flip of the two worlds seems to go past the minds of some watchers. When Kens are treated similarly in Barbie Land how women are treated in the real world, people claim it is bashing men. Yet, when it happens in the real world to women, it is not treated with the same anger by those people.
Despite it being taken as an attack, “Barbie” was received very well by the general public. The money it made and the box office debut numbers are evidence of this. It was a truly beautiful movie that exemplified the struggles women go through, and more broad, what humans go through. The pink humor and fun songs only mask what is a deep and intense movie that will always be a showstopper.

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About the Contributor
Eliza Janssen, Writer
  I am an avid reader and writer, and love learning about what's going on in the world. I love experiencing the community in Fargo, and talking to people around. The Scroll is a great place for me to put my thoughts and talents to great use! I enjoy talking with my fellow staff about what to put in the paper and what people want, and it has been a great time!
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