Today, Jackie comes out — a biopic that transcends the genre, as more of a psychological and aesthetic portrait of a person and a very particular moment than a play-by-play of her life/emphasis of her importance. And today also bears news of another biopic about a woman whose status of iconic American femininity is also wrapped up in an early 60s American social context. She is none other than…Barbie.
The news of Barbie getting her own movie has been circulating (and morphing) for a while, with stories about rewrites — and then Mattel’s commissioning of three new scripts from which to choose back in December 2015, on top of a previous draft that was rewritten by Diablo Cody — making people wonder exactly what angle Sony and Mattel would take in bringing a corporeally warped woman-ish-shaped toy to life, in a story that is not Toy Story… or The Lego Movie… or Bratz: The Movie… or… yeah, there are a lot of movies about goddamn toys. The potentially good aspect of the news about this one is that it looks like Amy Schumer will be playing Barbie.
According to what sources told Variety, Sony and Mattel seem to have chosen a script by Hilary Winston, and Schumer and her sister, Kim Caramele, will give it rewrites. This particular version of Barbie’s film sees the Barbie girl getting kicked out of her Barbie world due to her perceived imperfections by her plastic kin.
The nature of the story thus seems to take into consideration the criticisms of Barbie’s relation to female beauty standards… though that very worthwhile potential moral could still make for some murky do-gooderism, à la the anti-capitalist undertones of The Lego Movie. No matter what, it is still a film about and thereby functioning as an advertisement for a plastic product, in an endless march of consumer goods getting their own stories in a filmmaking climate where some of our most inventive storytellers have simply given up — so the optimism will, for now, remain tempered by that.