avatarPoor Things

Barbie circa. 2024 and onward.

Definitely a unique experience from all sorts of different angles. To get the obvious out of the way, the cinematography and filming is something I liked a lot. Very few to none of movies today would commit so hard to mainlining a b&w mode in 4:3 or 5:4 aspect ratio, all shot on a fish eye lens (at least a big portion of the final film).

Colors, costume design, landscapes, makeup, and ambience—all wonderful, no questions asked. I saw the plot as a struggle between one’s individuality versus the society’s demands, or should we say, "how the polite society devours the soul?" Or how the childlike view of the world never goes unpunished? Or how the men feel possessive of womens’ bodies and autonomies?

All good topics explored in a dream-like way. It is a movie one should see in theaters—it even put me in a bit of a claustrophobia in how close most of the shots were and how "locked-in" the environments were. Did not expect to see Mark Ruffalo and William Dafoe. Both were fantastic, just as Emma Stone. Speaking of Emma Stone, what’s up with all the sex scenes?

I went with my good friend on a Saturday morning at 11am for the matinee screening and I personally don’t have any kind of problem with sex or sexual content in movies. In fact, I studied erotic pictures in college film courses, so it’s not a foreign idea to me. But the way it was depicted... felt simply revolting. I suppose that was the intended effect?

Is it ethical to have sex with someone in an altered or non-fully consensual/understanding mindset? She was an infant, even in an adult woman’s body. And the revolting effect of how disgusting those men were or how Mark Ruffalo played this run-of-the-mill sleazy already sealed the deal for me in first few nude scenes.

But constantly seeing Emma Stone stark naked through and through, going from her finding the pleasure with an apple or a cucumber, to Mark Ruffalo piece of shit (I don’t remember the character’s name, it’s just Mark Ruffalo), to the whorehouse in Paris, etc.—it all felt a little bit too excessive; surprisingly, even for me.

I wouldn’t say I know why or guess to what effect. It wasn’t a turn-off, per se, but felt dragging at many moments, where even as an artistic liberty, it felt oversaturated. I realized that this isn’t a rewatch material for me, but I respect the movie and the experience it gave me—that is something no one can take it away from it.