As 2023 draws to a close, it’s hard to say that anything has influenced pop culture more influentially than Barbie. What was an emotional cash-in on the world’s most popular doll became a reason for moviegoers to celebrate the doll’s evolution from mere toy to symbol of strength, individualism and self-acceptance.
While on the surface, Barbie was glamorous and fun, with Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling being cute and goofy around each other while wearing bright outfits, it was so much more. After spending her entire life thinking that her simple lifestyle and her idols have affected the world, Barbie realizes how bleak reality can be. It’s a movie that takes aim at toxic masculinity, corporate America, and all those who try to minimize your existence from the perspective of a Barbie doll.
With strong performances from Robbie and Gosling, along with other actors like Issa Rae, Kate McKinnon, Simo Liu, and many others, this is one of the strongest ensembles we’ve seen in a long time. While the different versions of Barbie and Ken may have been largely played superficially, they all fit together like a puzzle to create a fascinating and exciting version of Barbie’s world. Meanwhile, the non-puppet part of the cast, led by America Ferrara, showed that no matter how damaged the world is, there is still hope for the future.
Of course, another important point that was in favor of Barbie was the summer phenomenon known only by the name of Barbenheimer. This is a phrase that none of us knew when entering the year. As 2023 draws to a close, it’s hard to imagine we never learned anything about Greta Gerwig’s Barbie and Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer.
It’s what seems to be a rare case of people simply getting excited about movies instead of picking sides to cheer for. Instead of being excited about Barbie or Oppenheimer, many were simply excited. In a summer that saw the motion picture and television industry shut down while the WGA and SAG-AFTRA negotiated new union contracts with the studios, resulting in the delay of a number of movies and TV shows, Barbie and Oppenheimer gave us a reason to they did Excited to go to the movies
In the end, both won. However, Barbie is still the undisputed champion of the year. With a top-grossing box office hit and an indelible mark on the world that makes us die for a sequel even if we never get one, Barbie was a game-changing cinematic experience. How could GameSpot pick anything else for its Best Movie of 2023?