Following the world premiere of Greta Gerwig’s summer blockbuster Barbie, critics have shared their first reactions on social media – and they’re overwhelmingly positive.
It felt as though this day would never arrive. After a masterclass in how to orchestrate the perfect publicity campaign, preceded by several years of being mired in development, Barbie has finally been taken out of plastic at its LA-based world premiere on Sunday (9 July).
Hype for the film had already reached fever pitch, thanks to months of meticulously-timed trailers, teasers, interviews, character posters and even a star-studded soundtrack to herald the hotly anticipated, hot pink feature.
Directed by indie film superstar Greta Gerwig and starring Margot Robbie as Mattel’s most iconic doll, accompanied by Ryan Gosling as himbo-in-chief Ken, early reviews from critics confirm that Barbie is set to make a huge impression on cinemagoers this summer.
Leading the charge of overwhelmingly positive reactions on social media, Variety’s Katcy Stephan praised Barbie as “perfection” and commended Gerwig for delivering a “nuanced” social commentary on being a woman.
“Greta Gerwig delivers a nuanced commentary on what it means to be a woman in a whimsical, wonderful and laugh-out-loud funny romp,” she wrote. “The entire cast shines, especially Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling in roles they were clearly born to play.”
ScreenRant’s Joseph Deckelmeier, meanwhile, called the film “funny, bombastic and very smart”, adding: “Greta Gerwig aims for the fences & hits a home-run.”
Nearly all of the Barbie reviews praise Robbie’s role as the titular Barbie – but a prominent number also highlight Gosling’s performance as Ken, with some critics urging Oscars voters to give him a nomination come awards season.
ComicBook.com writer Jamie Jirak also declared that Barbie is her “favourite film of the year”.
“Greta Gerwig somehow exceeded my expectations,” she wrote. “She tackles the positives and negatives of Barbie so beautifully. Give Ryan Gosling an Oscar nomination, I’m dead serious!”
This Week Media editor Eze Baum said: “Barbie is a triumph. A pitch-perfect script backed by great performances – particularly from Ryan Gosling – turns what could be a simple studio comedy into a sharp commentary on our society that makes its nuance palatable for those that may not take it at face value. GG is 3/3.”
Critics have also commented on the unexpected nature of Barbie‘s themes, with one calling it “everything you wouldn’t expect” from a film endorsed by Mattel (the toy company behind the Barbie brand).
AAFCA’s Ty Cole said that Barbie “peels the layers off the superficial doll we all grew up with” on which the film was inspired while also putting Ken into the spotlight as he is “figuring his identity out”.
New York Times staff writer Kyle Buchanan also noted: “I can’t believe Greta Gerwig got away with it! (Said admiringly)”.
Elsewhere, plenty of premiere attendees praised the extravagant production and costume design, with Rotten Tomatoes critic Carla Renata highlighting the “dance numbers led by Simu Liu” as some of her favourite moments.
“I saw ‘Barbie The Movie’ and Greta Gerwig left me all in my feelings as did the production design, costumes, Hair and makeup! I was living for the dance numbers led by Simu Liu! It’s overblown fun with a feminist twist”, she wrote.
Collider’s Perri Nemiroff praised the “incredible” craftsmanship in Barbie and “next-level work” on production, but expressed ambivalence about the plot.
“I have seen Barbie! The craftsmanship is incredible. In particular the costume & production design includes next-level work that heavily contributes to creating the feeling that these truly are Barbies, their dream houses, and their worlds come to life,” Nemiroff wrote.
“As for the story, that’s where I’m a bit more mixed. I think the film serves Margot Robbie’s Barbie and her journey especially well, but there are other characters experiencing important arcs that needed more screen time to really dig into and explore to the fullest.”
Plenty of journalists who attended the first official screening have also called Barbie everything from a “triumph” to a “devilishly hilarious anti-system film”.
While details of Barbie‘s plot have been largely been kept under wraps, Gerwig has previously hinted that the film is inspired by classic movies like The Wizard of Oz. After being shunned from Barbieland for being a “less-than-perfect doll”, the film sees Barbie set off for the human world.
The latest trailer also points towards Barbie “know[ing] the truth” about her existence – hinted at in the latest trailer by Barbie’s arched feet falling flat and her life becoming slowly less plastically picturesque.
Robbie, meanwhile, is dominating the film’s worldwide press tour by referencing original outfits worn by actual Barbies.
The film is set to star a significant number of much-loved queer actors, with Doctor Barbie Hari Nef recently explaining how Barbie will encourage trans women to “let go of the checklist”.
In short, Barbie looks set to be a box office smash.
The general public will be admitted to Barbieland on 21 July, when the film lands in cinemas.