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Barbie director Greta Gerwig responds to right-wing backlash

Film’s feminist message has drawn the ire of several high-profile conservative commentators

Louis Chilton
Thursday 27 July 2023 05:26 BST
Trailer for The Barbie Movie

Barbie director Greta Gerwig has responded to the backlash the film has faced from right-wing commentators.

The movie, which stars Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling as living versions of the popular Mattel dolls Barbie and Ken, was released in cinemas last Friday (21 July).

While the film has been positively received by critics, a number of conservative pundits, including Piers Morgan and Ben Shapiro, have voiced objection to the film’s feminist messaging.

Gerwig, whose previous films include Lady Bird and the 2019 adaptation of Little Women, was asked about the right-wing backlash in a new interview with The New York Times.

“Certainly, there’s a lot of passion,” Gerwig, 39, responded. “My hope for the movie is that it’s an invitation for everybody to be part of the party and let go of the things that aren’t necessarily serving us as either women or men.

“I hope that in all of that passion, if they see it or engage with it, it can give them some of the relief that it gave other people,” she added.

Shapiro, 39, shared a video in which he launched into a 43-minute-long rant about the supposedly “woke” film. The clip was met with derisive reactions from fans of the film.

Morgan, meanwhile, was ridiculed after he wrote an op-ed claiming that he would be “executed” if he made his own version of the film with the gender dynamics reversed.

“If I made a movie mocking women as useless dunderheads, constantly attacking ‘the matriarchy,’ and depicting all things feminist as toxic bulls***, I wouldn’t just be cancelled, I’d be executed,” the former Good Morning Britain presenter claimed.

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Ryan Gosling and Margot Robbie in Greta Gerwig’s ‘Barbie'
Ryan Gosling and Margot Robbie in Greta Gerwig’s ‘Barbie' (Warner Bros)

In a five-star review of Barbie, The Independent’s Clarisse Loughrey wrote: “Barbie is one of the most inventive, immaculately crafted and surprising mainstream films in recent memory – a testament to what can be achieved within even the deepest bowels of capitalism.

“It’s timely, too, arriving a week after the creative forces behind these stories began striking for their right to a living wage and the ability to work without the threat of being replaced by an AI. It’s a pink-splattered manifesto to the power of irreplaceable creative labour and imagination.”

As well as Robbie and Gosling, the film also stars Simu Liu, Will Ferrell, America Ferrera, Kate McKinnon and Issa Rae.

Barbie is out in cinemas now.

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