Acclaimed filmmaker Greta Gerwig's latest release, the vibrant summer blockbuster Barbie, met an unexpected wave of right-wing backlash. Despite the unexpected outcry, Gerwig staunchly asserts that her film is crafted for a universal audience.
"There's certainly a lot of passion," Gerwig admitted in an interview with The New York Times. This sentiment emerged when the conversation turned to the outrage expressed by some conservative factions. Notably, they criticized the film as too "woke," with some even resorting to destroying their Mattel dolls in protest.
Gerwig's Hopes for Barbie
Gerwig conveyed her aspirations for the film saying, "My hope is that it's an invitation for everyone to join in, to let go of the constraints that may not necessarily serve us as individuals, regardless of gender." She further voiced a hopeful expectation that those immersed in passion, upon viewing or interacting with the film, might derive a sense of relief as others have.
The film, a colorful comedy which showcases a star-studded cast led by Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling, caused quite a storm at the box office last weekend. It amassed an impressive $162 million across the U.S. and Canada. The plot explores the titular character Barbie, portrayed by Robbie, grappling with an existential crisis after a malfunction, while her partner Ken, enacted by Gosling, briefly succumbs to the real world's patriarchy.
While the film explores feminist themes, certain conservative commentators construed this as an attack. Ben Shapiro, for instance, lambasted the movie in a lengthy YouTube video that concluded with him igniting Barbie dolls.
He depicted the film's basic premise as a binary antagonism between men and women, criticizing its conclusion as advocating for ignoring the opposite gender to achieve happiness. He also predicted a steep decline in the movie's box office fortunes.
Elsewhere, Piers Morgan chimed in, stating that if he were to create a film that satirizes women as inept and perpetually challenges the matriarchy while portraying feminist ideas as toxic, he'd face severe consequences.
He criticized Barbie as simply replacing the patriarchy with a matriarchy, a concept he insists is equally loathsome. Ginger Gaetz, wife of Republican Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz, expressed her disdain for Gosling's "beta energy," advocating for a boycott, while Matt Walsh condemned the movie as "aggressively anti-man" and a piece of "feminist propaganda." Despite the criticism, film critics and audiences alike have embraced the movie warmly.
It currently holds a 90% "fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes and received an A grade in CinemaScore exit polls. Gerwig expressed her elation at the film's success, saying, "I aimed to create something anarchic, wild, funny, and cathartic, and the fact that it's being received as intended is truly extraordinary."
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