By Teagan Durkin

We all knew it was coming. The relentless, hot pink, techno pop advertising was impossible to escape. Outfits in every shade from cerise to coral were planned months in advance. Memes dominated social media as far as the eye could scroll. 

Watching the Barbie movie was a nostalgic trip. All the hours I had spent playing with my own dolls, orchestrating everything from fashion shows to espionage missions, came flooding back as I watched my childhood toys come to life on the big screen. This movie differed from the other 43 movies—Barbie is a skilled self-promoter—in two key ways, however.

First, it was live action, thus eliminating the inevitable cringe associated with poorly aged animation. Second, its meta-awareness twisted the typical Barbie script. 

For some, Barbie is simply a childhood toy. For others, Barbie captures so many of the unrealistic expectations women deal with on a daily basis: they must be absolutely beautiful no matter what they’re actually going through, but not look like they’re trying too hard; they must accomplish extraordinary professional success, but not so much that it threatens people around them; and they must have well-developed independent interests, but also be a family-centered and dedicated parent. If one put Barbie’s actual plastic proportions on a real woman, she would fall over. The waist-hip ratio itself would be enough to topple.

The film is aware, however, that Barbie can simultaneously inspire people and push them to achieve an impossible standard. In an impassioned speech toward the end of the film, America Ferrera captures this perspective perfectly.

I expected the film to reference numerous tidbits of Mattel’s illustrious history. Along with nestling plenty of easter eggs for the observant viewer, the movie also delivered on a strong plot. I found myself fully engaged through both roller-skating missions and the more thoughtful moments that poignantly captured human beauty. But as much as I personally enjoyed the film, certain aspects, like the overall message and dialogue, were occasionally oversimplistic and childish. But I acknowledge that I, a college student, am not Barbie’s target audience. These factors didn’t deter me from dressing up in hot pink nail polish for a hilariously sweet time. 

Despite the well-researched authenticity of the extravagant Dreamhouse decor and classic Mattel couture, I was disappointed that the film missed the mark on one key element. All of the Barbie dolls, and even Ken if we must count him, were completely inaccurate. Only Kate McKinnon portrayed what a Barbie actually looks like the moment it leaves its protective packaging: hair chopped off, crayon streaked face, and a permanently haunted look.

Rising sophomore Teagan Durkin is a contributing writer. Her email is