Breaking Down the BARBIE Screenplay

 

Barbie, written by Greta Gerwig and Noah Baumbach, takes audiences on an imaginative journey through the life of Mattel’s iconic toy, Barbie. Played by Margot Robbie and set in the vibrant and meticulously crafted Barbie Land, Barbie explores themes of self-discovery, feminism, and the clash between idealism and reality. Barbie’s seemingly perfect world is disrupted when she begins to experience existential thoughts. This takes Barbie on a quest to the Real World to restore balance and find her true purpose.

 

In this article, we’re diving into the Barbie screenplay and analyzing the most successful key elements of the story. Click here to download the full script PDF!

 

Character

 

The central character, Barbie Margot embodies the quintessential Barbie, representing beauty, perfection, and boundless possibilities. Barbie Margot’s character arc takes her from a state of stereotypical perfection to individual self-awareness and growth. For example, on page 57, Barbie Margot realizes her vulnerability, admitting, “I’m not what I used to be. I used to be perfect”.

 

Ken, portrayed by Ryan Gosling, adds a layer of comedic relief and emotional depth, highlighting the complexities of identity and purpose in a world dominated by Barbie. His character evolution is highlighted on page 103 when he admits, “I always thought this would be our house”, revealing his dependency on Barbie.

 

Gloria, a significant supporting character, brings a grounded and human perspective to the story. She works at Mattel and becomes a crucial ally to Barbie Margot. Gloria’s character is marked by her warmth, creativity, and introspection. On page 39, we see her sketching a Barbie that reflects her own experiences and struggles, revealing a deep personal connection to the character.

 

Plot

 

The plot of Barbie is a whimsical yet poignant exploration of identity and societal expectations. Barbie Margot’s journey begins in the idyllic Barbie Land, where everything is perfect until she starts experiencing thoughts of death and imperfections, as seen on page 7 where she suddenly asks, “Do you ever think about dying?”. This triggers events that lead her to seek answers in the Real World.

 

Alongside Ken, she navigates the challenges of this unfamiliar territory, encountering resistance and discovering the harsh realities of societal norms. The narrative cleverly intertwines Barbie’s personal growth with broader themes of empowerment and the deconstruction of stereotypes, as illustrated on page 110 when Barbie Margot states, “Maybe I’m not Barbie anymore”​.

 

 

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Dialogue  

 

Barbie’s dialogue mixes witty banter, insightful commentary, and emotional exchanges. For example, on page 85, Barbie Margot expresses her insecurities, saying, “I’m not pretty anymore”. The screenplay uses humor to address serious themes, with characters often engaging in playful yet meaningful conversations.   Helen Mirren’s voice-over narration adds a layer of depth, guiding the audience through Barbie’s journey with a mix of nostalgia and satire. The interactions between Barbie and Ken are particularly notable, highlighting the contrasts in their perspectives and adding layers of complexity to their characters. On page 104, Ken confesses his feelings, “I don’t know who I am without you”, underscoring his identity crisis.  

 

Tone  

 

The tone of the firm balances between lighthearted fun and profound introspection. The screenplay’s vibrant and colorful depiction of Barbie Land contrasts with the more subdued and realistic portrayal of the Real World. This dichotomy enhances the thematic depth, allowing the audience to experience the joy and the challenges of Barbie’s journey.   Additionally, the tone shifts seamlessly from comedic moments to more serious reflections on identity and societal expectations, as evidenced on page 86 where America Ferrera’s Gloria delivers her now well-known, powerful monologue about the impossibility of being a perfect woman.  

 

Structure  

 

The narrative follows a traditional three-act structure, with a strong inciting incident that propels Barbie into her quest. On page 21, Weird Barbie explains the need for Barbie to venture into the Real World, saying, “You have to go to the Real World and find the girl who is playing with you”.   Meanwhile, the screenplay uses flashbacks and voice-over narration to provide context and deepen the emotional impact. The pacing is strong, keeping the audience engaged while allowing for moments of introspection and character development.  

 

Is Your Feature Ready for Shore Scripts’ 2024 Contest?

 

The Barbie screenplay by Greta Gerwig and Noah Baumbach presents a fantastic blend of humor, emotion, and social commentary. It reimagines a beloved cultural icon in an entertaining and thought-provoking way. If you’ve crafted a compelling adaptation or an original feature screenplay, consider submitting your work to our Feature contest. This is a fantastic opportunity to showcase your talent, gain industry recognition, and potentially see your work brought to life on screen.  

 

Submit your feature or adaptation to Shore Scripts today and take the next step in your screenwriting career!  

 


Laura Huie is a writer and editor involved in comedy-drama screenwriting, fiction editing, and full-time marketing copy. Laura is also a freelance article writer for Shore Scripts and has worked with Script Pipeline on their live Symposium series. She is one-half of the screenwriting duo, Bloom & Huie. Together, they have written multiple television series and feature-length films. Their mission is to write honest and witty female stories wrapped up in unbelievable worlds.

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