Is The Barbie Movie Stealthy About Mental Health Right Now?

Barbie looking out and seeing her perfect plastic world.

In the seemingly perfect world of Barbie, where everything is pink and smiles are perpetually frozen, the 2023 film takes a bold step into uncharted territory – the realm of mental health. As Barbie embarks on her unexpected journey, the movie subtly but profoundly delves into the intricacies of mental well-being, challenging the stereotypical plastic perfection associated with the iconic doll.

Breaking the Mold: Barbie’s Existential Crisis

Barbie seeing the cracks in her world.

From the outset, the film hints at something amiss in Barbie’s plastic paradise. The visual splendor contrasts with Barbie’s growing unease, providing a metaphor for the internal struggles that often go unnoticed. As the plastic facade begins to crack, Barbie’s journey becomes a poignant exploration of existential questions and identity crises.

Real World Reflections in Venice Beach

Barbie in Venice beach.

Stepping into the real world, Barbie’s encounters mirror the challenges many face when confronting reality. The juxtaposition of Barbie’s unreal perfection with the messy, imperfect human world serves as a canvas to explore mental health issues. The struggle to fit into societal expectations becomes a narrative thread woven into the whimsical storyline.

Ken’s Awakening and Societal Commentary

Ken is exposed to mainstream male culture.

Ken’s discovery of the patriarchy in the real world adds a layer of societal commentary. The film cleverly uses Ken’s transformation into “Kendom” to address societal pressures and expectations. Barbie’s depression in response to this upheaval becomes a poignant portrayal of the impact societal norms can have on mental well-being.

I’m Just Ken: A Vulnerable Exploration of Identity

Amidst the dance-offs and plastic perfection, the film takes a poignant turn with Ken’s heartfelt ballad, “I’m Just Ken.” This moment of vulnerability peels back the layers of the seemingly carefree Ken, revealing his own struggle with identity. Ken’s desire to be recognized for more than his relationship with Barbie echoes the broader theme of individuality and the toll societal expectations can take on mental health. The ballad becomes a soulful anthem for those grappling with their sense of self in a world that often defines them by relationships or societal roles.

Weird Role’s: Mental Health Awareness

The multiple variations of Barbie's.

Weird Barbie, with her unconventional appearance and demeanor, plays a crucial role in Barbie’s journey. As the voice of reason, she becomes an advocate for mental health awareness. The film subtly challenges the conventional notions of beauty and perfection, encouraging viewers to embrace uniqueness and individuality.

Gloria’s Speech: Empowering Mental Health Dialogue

Barbie crying to Gloria's speech.

One of the film’s standout moments is Gloria’s impassioned speech about the standards women face in the real world. This powerful dialogue not only snaps Barbie out of her depression but also serves as a rallying cry for mental health empowerment. The film invites audiences to reflect on the societal pressures that can affect mental well-being.

Ruth Handler’s Guidance: Choosing Mental Health

Barbie talking with Ruth.

The appearance of Ruth Handler, Barbie’s creator, becomes symbolic of choosing one’s mental health and well-being. Barbie’s decision to step beyond her predefined role and exist in the real world as Barbara Handler carries a powerful message – that mental health is a valid and essential consideration in one’s life journey.

A Transformed Barbie Land: Embracing Diversity in Mental Health

Barbie in a transformed Barbie Land.

The final scenes, depicting a transformed Barbie Land, underscore the importance of embracing mental health diversity. The diverse roles assumed by the Barbies reflect the varied aspects of mental well-being. The film advocates for a broader understanding of mental health, acknowledging that perfection is an illusion and embracing individuality is key.

The Kenclusion

You are Kenough.

In its whimsical and satirical way, the 2023 film becomes a unexpected champion for mental health awareness. Beyond the plastic perfection and dream houses, it invites viewers to contemplate the real and often challenging aspects of mental well-being. Barbie’s journey becomes not just a plastic fantasy but a reflection of the mental health struggles many face in the quest for individuality and acceptance.

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