The movie “Barbie,” with Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling, had a bumpy road to the screens.
In the time leading up to its release, ‘Barbie’ has been accused of ‘pushing’ LGBTQ themes.
The much-anticipated “Barbie” movie with Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling is now in theaters, but there have been several debates about the movie before it came out.
After being planned for years with different writers and stars, like actress Amy Schumer and Oscar winner Diablo Cody, the movie finally started filming with Robbie as the famous doll.
But as soon as the first full clip for the movie came out, there were a lot of arguments about it.
Some fans were upset that Ryan Gosling was cast as Ken, and when the film’s marketing campaign got going, there were a number of foreign problems, like a racy translation on the French poster and a ban on the movie in Vietnam.
People have also said that “Barbie” is a too-woke story about a children’s doll. For example, one site said, “Warning: Don’t take your daughter to Barbie.”
Here are some of the problems “Barbie” ran into on its way to the movies.
Ryan Gosling’s Ken
When the movie’s first full trailer came out in April, some fans said that Gosling was too old to play Ken to Robbie’s Barbie.
One person said at the time on Twitter, “Ryan Gosling is too ugly and too old to play Ken. They should have cast Henry Cavill or Chris Evans instead.”
Some people spoke up for him. “I can’t believe we live in a world where people think Ryan Gosling is either “too ugly” or “too old” to play a real-life Ken doll. You can’t really think that. So cruel and not true, and he will really be the star of that movie,” one person wrote.
In May, he told GQ, “I would say that if people don’t want to play with my Ken, there are lots of other Kens to play with.”
“It’s funny, this kind of clutching-your-pearls idea of, like, #notmyken,” he said next. “Like you’ve never thought about Ken before this?”
The 42-year-old also talked about how some people felt about Ken being less important than Barbie in the movie.
Gosling said that Ken’s “job has always been the beach” ever since the doll was made in 1961, two years after the first Barbie doll.
“Everyone was fine with him having a job that doesn’t pay much. But all of a sudden, it’s like, “No, we’ve always cared about Ken.” “No, you didn’t,” said the star of “La La Land.” “You never did. You didn’t care. Ken and Barbie never f—–. The point is that.”
“If you cared about Ken at all, you’d know that no one cared about Ken. So your lies are out in the open,” Gosling said.
The poster’s slogan does show that Ken doesn’t have as much going on as Barbie. “She’s everything,” it says. He’s just Ken.”
NSFW French Poster
When the movie’s tagline was translated into French for the poster, it went popular for a dirtier meaning that may or may not have been meant.
The Hollywood Reporter says that the tagline in French is “She can do anything. “Lui, c’est juste Ken” means, “She can do everything. “He’s just Ken,” which is pretty close to the English.
But in French slang, “Ken” can also mean “the f-word,” so the tagline “She can do everything. He just knows how to do it.”
It’s not clear if the double meaning was meant or not, but a French marketing executive from a different company told THR that there was no other way to understand it.
“It’s for sure on purpose; a French speaker would have seen the dirty joke right away,” they said. “It’s really pretty clever that they put that in there.”
Warner Bros. Discovery said in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter, “The rumors about the Barbie marketing campaign show that the public is very aware of and very excited about the upcoming release of our film in France. When the movie comes out next month, we can’t wait for people all over the world to see it.”
“Barbie” Banned in Vietnam
This month, “Barbie” was banned in Vietnam because there was a scene with a map that showed China’s unilaterally claimed area in the South China Sea. Vietnam said this violated their sovereignty.
According to Variety, the director general of the Vietnam Cinema Department told the state-run newspaper Tuoi Tre, “We do not give license for the movie “Barbie” to come out in Vietnam because it has the offensive image of the nine-dash line.”
The controversial “nine-dash line” is used on maps to show China’s claims over parts of the South China Sea, including parts that Vietnam claims as its own. In 2016, The Hague ruled that the line was not valid. According to Variety, the ruling is binding, but China says it does not agree with it.
A Warner Bros. Film Group rep told Variety, “Barbie Land’s plan looks like it was drawn by a child with crayons. The drawings show Barbie’s imaginary trip from Barbie Land to the “real world.” It wasn’t meant to make a point of any kind.”
The Philippines government also thought about banning the movie because of the drawing but didn’t.
THR says that in a letter to the public, the country’s Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTPCB) said that there was “no reason to ban the film.”
It did ask that the picture be blurred so that people wouldn’t “misunderstand” what was going on.
The main story of “Barbie” is about the main Barbie character, played by Robbie, who has an existential crisis and goes on a journey of self-discovery with Gosling’s Ken.
All-star actors like Issa Rae from “Insecure,” Kate McKinnon from “Saturday Night Live,” and Simu Liu from “Marvel” play different Barbies and Kens in the “Barbie” world.
In a July chat with Joe Deckelmeier of Screenrant, Liu talked about the different dolls that come to life. She also talked about how the movie challenges “heteronormative” ideas about gender.
“You know, colors became associated with genders, toys became associated with genders, and we were given all these rules,” he said. “So Barbie was always like, “That’s not my toy. The other toy has that. I’m so glad this movie exists because I think it puts the final nail in the coffin of that very heteronormative idea of what gender is and what is and is not gendered. How can you make a color male or female?”
“I think that’s what’s really stood out to me about being in this movie, what’s changed about how I see Barbie and what she is, and what I hope people will get out of it when they watch the movie,” he said.
The transgender actor Hari Nef is also in “Barbie.” She told Out Magazine that the movie gives a positive message about being transgender.
Nef said, “As much as this movie celebrates femininity and being a girl, I think it also encourages people to let go of the checklist we have for living and live their lives and be in their bodies their own way, on their own terms.”
Movieguide, a faith-based film review site, had a problem with the fact that LGBTQ stories were given more attention than families and young girls, who are the main audience for a Barbie doll movie.
“The new BARBIE movie forgets that its main target is families and children. Instead, it focuses on nostalgic adults and pushes character stories about lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people. Also, the movie was badly made and had a lot of different ideas, which turned off even the most devoted fans, a review on the site said.
It went on to say, “They already had a market and following for this franchise, but they didn’t care at all. Millions of families would have gone to the movies and bought tickets, but Mattel decided to make the movie for a small group of people who have shown time and time again that they don’t go to the theater.
Robbie didn’t talk about that review in a recent interview with ABC News Australia, but he did say that the movie is for everyone.
When she was asked if the movie was for kids, Robbie said, “This is what people say when they try to get a movie made. They say, “It’s for everyone,” but it was made with everyone in mind.”
Greta Gerwig, who co-wrote and directed the movie, told the outlet that it was “feminist,” but in a wider sense.
“It is feminism in a way that everyone can agree with. Gerwig said, “It’s like a rising tide lifts all boats.”