Sunday, October 1, 2023


Scorpio Rising / Barbie

Now that some of the hype has died down I wanted to highlight some slightly left field comparisons I found between Greta Gerwig’s Barbie and a handful of films that were not name-dropped by Gerwig during her press run. I have nothing to add to the actual discourse of the film. I enjoyed it but there are already tons of essays & reviews regarding gender roles, the patriarchy, misogyny, “film bros”, etc. I have nothing unique to add to that conversation.

Now…for context, Gerwig sat down with letterboxd and highlighted a long list of movies that influenced the visual style of Barbie (Jacques Demy, Jacques Tati, Victor Fleming, Kubrick, etc etc). Click here to check out the video.

I don’t feel the need to highlight these comparisons because they’ve been run in to the ground. 

What I’m presenting are coincidental visual similarities to movies that haven’t really been mentioned that may or may not have made some kind of subconscious impact…

Barbie / The Unbelievable Truth

I realize that I’m opening up the door for comparisons to any movie with a splash of pink in it but that’s not what I’m trying to do here. I guess I’m just trying to throw out the possibility that so-called “arthouse” or underrated/under appreciated films may have left a sliver of lasting DNA on pop culture…

Georges Melies is kind of a default influence on pretty much all of cinema considering he was one of the earlier filmmakers. A lot of that default influence is all over Barbie...

Voyage To The Moon / Barbie

The Eclipse, The Courtship of the Sun and Moon / Barbie

The Mermaid / Barbie

The Mermaid / Barbie

Same applies to folks that came after Melies like Ernst Lubitch...

The Doll / Barbie

The Doll / Barbie

A possible Matrix reference?

The Matrix / Barbie

Which could also be a Total Recall reference...
Total Recall / Barbie

Gerwig is a major fan of Chantal Akerman, so Akerman's most colorful & playful film rubbing off on her isn't too farfetched...

Golden Eighties / 

Douglas Sirk wasn’t a name I remember Gerwig namedropping but her use of pink is quite reminiscent of Sirk’s…

Written On The Wind / Barbie

Written On The Wind / Barbie

And, naturally, other filmmakers who borrowed from Sirk (Todd Haynes, Fassbinder, etc) came to mind when thinking of Barbie

Barbie / Vlevet Goldmine

Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story / Barbie

Lola / Barbie

Lola /

Lola /

The Wizard Of Oz is one of the biggest influences on Barbie (I don’t think this is any revelation). So naturally other Oz-influenced movies are going share visual similarities with Barbie…

Wild At Heart / Barbie

I’m not a film analyst but most of the things we do nowadays, also in advertising, lead back to Kenneth Anger’s work - Nicolas Winding Refn, Indiewire

This quote also kind of applies to Barbie

Fireworks / Barbie

Kustom Kar Kommandos / Barbie

Elvis’s music (and rumors about his sexuality) are associated with Kenneth Anger’s film so I don’t think it’s a reach to compare some of the dance numbers in Barbie involving the Kens with Elvis (naturally the dance sequence on the right brings Grease to mind but a lot of music and dance sequences in Grease can be traced back to Elvis)

Jailhouse Rock / Barbie

This is also interesting because Refn, who was synonymous with Ryan Gosling for a couple of years also borrowed heavily from Kenneth Anger (click here to read more).


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