by Shelt Garner
I was quite pleased with the Barbie movie for a number of reasons. It was pretty much the political sweetspot of what I generally believe about gender politics. I can see why conservatives might consider the movie “woke,” but, in general, it seemed like just a a good movie that told a good story.
That is what struck me about the nature of the movie — it was really good. I was impressed with Greta Gerwig’s storytelling ability. I have been a fan of hers since “Frances Ha” and I knew going into the movie that it was probably going to tell a silly story in an interesting way.
As an aside, I do think that the success of Barbie may — possibly — suggest that we’re about to have something to the mythical “vibe shift” that everyone was talking about in the recent past. It’s just a short jaunt to a more gritty mainstream movie. Though, I’ve given this a lot of thought and I just don’t think our society is at a point for the legendary type of movies of the early 70s to come back.
But it is at least possible that superhero movies are on their way out. We’ve had them dominate the box office for about 20 years and so it’s inevitable that something will replace them at some point. But what? And when? I just don’t know the answer to that question.
I still think it’s at least possible that AI is going to make all these musings moot when at some point — probably after we sort things out in a Fourth Turning — the very notion of “mass media” will seem rather quaint. We’ll just sit down in front of our TVs, have our faces scanned and out will pop a movie or TV show directly tailored to how we’re feeling at that specific moment.
That seems nearly an immutable force of history and technology at this point.
But back to Barbie — the movie, in my opinion, did what a good movie is supposed to do — tell an interesting story in a way that left you mulling what you’ve just seen once it was over. How the movie dealt with the issue of “the patriarchy” was really amusing to me and, what’s more, it was presented in such a way that young women might take heart.
Which, of course, is why that very element of the movie freaks conservative so much.