There is no Barbie movie

I know you think you’ve seen the Barbie movie, but have you really?

I was like you: Front row on opening night, arms full of collectible Barbie-themed popcorn bags and cups, the Barbies I brought from home piling over the side of my tote bag and slicing the screen. The movie seemed perfectly Barbie — Margot Robbie pretending not to be Australian, Ryan Gosling pretending to have a spray tan — but when I left the theatre and de-Barbie-briefed with my fellow stans, none of our recollections matched.

We all remembered Ryan Gosling Ken not knowing about sex (big laugh) and Margot Robbie’s anti-Birkenstock prejudice (#JusticeForBirks), but other than that we seemed to have watched completely different Barbie movies.

Maybe the experience was so incredible our brains couldn’t process it, but we knew that wasn’t the case — something else was up. 

We cancelled our Oppenheimer plans and went back in for another round of Barbie. This time, the movie was exactly the same but now Margot Robbie Barbie had red hair and invented the atomic bomb, and a professional Barbie fan like me knows that Barbie has blonde hair!

That’s when it hit me like a Barbie Classic Collection DVD box set thrown by the Barbie marketing team out of a pink double-decker bus: There is no Barbie movie.

My friends were content to accept the facade and bask in the Barbie bliss, but I had to find the truth. I went back in, watching the movie again and again until I could see past the illusion. I didn’t understand the videos and images I was seeing at first, but they seemed familiar. 

There were GQ and Buzzfeed Celeb interviews, Twitter threads about rollerbladers and concert hall tie-ins. It was the same content I had voraciously consumed in the lead-up to the Barbie movie: the marketing.

Why was no one talking about this? How had no one seen the truth on the screen? Who was behind it all?

They found me during my 35th watch. I tried to escape, climbing over rows and rows of unknowing Barbie fanatics, but there they were, waiting for me in their pink jumpsuits.

I was dragged to the secret room at the back of the theatre (you know the one). And in the pink glow of branded lighting, the Barbie Dreamhouse™ pieces finally fit together in my mind. It was them, the Barbie marketing team.

They told me it had taken decades of planning to convince the world the Barbie movie was real — years to convince the world that Greta Gerwig wasn’t just a twinkle in a lesbian’s eye — and I wasn’t about to ruin it for them. They began mockingly reenacting my capture with... it couldn’t be.


The figure that represented me bounced over rows of other, virtually identical looking, figures in the hands of one of the marketers, and I finally saw the truth (for I wanna say the third time that day): It was the Playmobil movie the whole time.

With eyes still fixed on their shakedown-core playtime, they revealed their evil plan. The Barbie movie was an elaborate and nonsensical ploy to pay for a Playmobil sequel. 

Even though I’m a Barbie fan to the very core of my being and have been for the past four months, it took all my willpower to not get pulled into the fun. But I knew this was my only chance to escape. I crept away, whispering silly little things like “that’s such a high click-through rate” and “so guerilla” until I made it past the door. 

Now you know the Barbie movie isn’t real. What you choose to do with that knowledge is up to you. I’ll be buying a themed lunchbox.