As we reflect upon the conclusion of 2023, it becomes evident that Barbie has made an immense pop culture impact. What initially seemed like a shallow attempt to capitalize on the beloved doll quickly transformed into an opportunity for movie enthusiasts to rejoice in the evolution of the Barbie franchise. From being a mere toy, Barbie has grown into a symbol of strength, individualism, and self-acceptance.
The superficial surface of the film, starring Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling, belied the deeper themes it explored. Barbie’s journey, embodied by Robbie’s character, challenged toxic masculinity, corporate America, and individuals who undermine others’ existence. It was a thought-provoking exploration of the human condition as seen through the lens of a Barbie doll. The performances of Robbie, Gosling, and an exceptional ensemble cast featuring Issa Rae, Kate McKinnon, Simu Liu, and more, further elevated the film.
The various incarnations of Barbie and Ken, portrayed by the talented cast, were skillfully woven together, creating a mesmerizing and captivating Barbie World. Each character, while seemingly superficial, contributed to a larger narrative that unfolded with the precision of a jigsaw puzzle. The colorful world of Barbie became a metaphorical canvas upon which important social issues were painted, leaving a lasting impact on the audience.
Meanwhile, the non-doll characters, led by the remarkable America Ferrara, added another dimension to the film, showcasing that despite the world’s flaws, hope always prevails. Their portrayal highlighted the resilience of human spirit and the possibility for a better tomorrow, even in the face of adversity.
One cannot discuss the success of Barbie without acknowledging the summer phenomenon known as Barbenheimer. This amalgamation of Greta Gerwig’s Barbie and Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer became a buzzword that gripped moviegoers throughout the year. Barbenheimer became emblematic of a rare occurrence where people were united in their excitement for movies, free from the need to choose sides. Rather than being divided into factions supporting either Barbie or Oppenheimer, audiences were united by their collective anticipation.
Simultaneously, the summer of 2023 witnessed the industry grappling with labor disputes between the Writers Guild of America (WGA) and the Screen Actors Guild‐American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA). The contract negotiations caused delays in the release of several films and TV shows. In this tumultuous climate, Barbie and Oppenheimer emerged as beacons of hope, reigniting the movie industry’s flickering flame. Ultimately, both films triumphed, but it was Barbie that emerged as the undisputed champion of the year.
Barbie’s impact extended far beyond the box office. It left an indelible mark on society’s collective consciousness, leaving viewers yearning for a sequel that may never come. The film not only entertained but also challenged preconceived notions and encouraged self-expression. Barbie dared to venture beyond the confines of a toy and served as a catalyst for personal growth and empowerment.
In recognition of its undeniable influence, GameSpot’s choice for the best movie of 2023 is unequivocally Barbie. Its remarkable commercial success and cultural significance make it a cinematic milestone. Barbie has showcased that entertainment can serve a greater purpose, transcending the boundaries of a simple doll, and inspiring generations to embrace their individuality and strength.