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Barbie Co-Writer Responds to Claims the Film is Man-Hating

Amid consistent claims Barbie hates men, the fantasy comedy film’s male co-writer offers a succinct response to critics who believe the acclaimed blockbuster is overly feminist.

Speaking with CBS News, Barbie scribe Noah Baumbach and his partner Greta Gerwig delved into the film’s unprecedented success, its various themes, narratives and reception from critics. Gerwig invoked Greek playwright Aristophanes when defending Barbie against the man-hating claims from its detractors, saying, “I thought, ‘Well, this is not man-hating any more than Aristophanes’ Lysistrata (laugh) was man-hating,’ which is– does not sound like a sick burn when you say it out loud like that.” However, Baumbach was less diplomatic. “I felt men could take it. I mean…come on,” Baumbach said.

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Despite the movie being widely celebrated for its feminist undertones, plus its themes of female empowerment and inclusivity, Barbie has attracted its fair share of naysayers since its Jul. 21 release. Political commentator Bill Maher is one of many who have called out Barbie for being anti-man, claiming the film used outdated tropes and was too “preachy” for his liking. This is despite the movie featuring men prominently, with the likes of Ryan Gosling, Kingsley Ben-Adir, John Cena, Simu Liu and Ncuti Gatwa playing variations of Ken in the film. Some fans also review-bombed the movie on Rotten Tomatoes to voice similar sentiments to Maher.

Noah Baumbach Initially Doubted Barbie’s Success

Baumbach recently admitted he initially thought Barbie was a “terrible idea” in its early stages. However, the screenplay he co-wrote with Gerwig blossomed into a billion-dollar title that exceeded everyone’s expectations. Barbie earned over $1.44 billion at the global box office, becoming the highest-grossing movie of 2023 and is Warner Bros.’s biggest earner ever. Additionally, the movie landed Gerwig, a three-time Academy Award nominee, the honor of having the highest-grossing film for a female director.

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Though Barbie has been so successful, don’t expect a sequel anytime soon, if at all. Lead actor and producer Margot Robbie downplayed the possibility of a Barbie follow-up, admitting she isn’t sure they can build on what they did for the film while praising it as a win for original movies. Barbie could enjoy a fruitful award season, with the film recently scoring 11 Grammy nominations and has been endorsed by Warner Bros. for potential Oscar nominations, including Best Original Screenplay and Best Supporting Actor for Gosling. Doctor Strange and Black Phone film franchise helmer Scott Derrickson recently insisted Barbie deserves to win the Best Picture Academy Award.

Gerwig is now focused on her screenplay for Netflix’s upcoming Chronicles of Narnia films, with production on the first movie set to begin imminently. Baumbach is known for directing feature-length efforts such as Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted, De Palma and White Noise.

Barbie is now available on digital and home video. It’s also expected to debut on Max soon.

Source: CBS News

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