The Barbie movie’s story is based on a best-selling book, Greta Gerwig reveals. The much-ballyhooed Barbie movie is from the Oscar-nominated writer-director known for Lady Bird and 2019’s Little Women, who co-wrote the script with her frequent collaborator Noah Baumbach. Other than Margot Robbie’s Barbie and Ryan Gosling’s Ken leaving Barbieland in search of true happiness in the real world, not much else is known about the Barbie movie’s story.


Talking to Vogue for their recent profile on Robbie, Gerwig revealed a significant detail about the Barbie movie’s story. The movie is partially based on the best-selling book, Reviving Ophelia, which Gerwig read when she was a kid. The writer-director says the 1994 non-fiction book, which examines the abrupt change that occurs in girls when they transition to adolescence and succumb to societal pressures, partially inspired the movie’s narrative arc. Read what Gerwig shared below:

My mom would check out books from the library about parenting, and then I would read them… They’re funny and brash and confident, and then they just—stop. How is this journey the same thing that a teenage girl feels? All of a sudden, she thinks, “Oh, I’m not good enough.”

What Reviving Ophelia Could Reveal About The Barbie Movie’s Story

Ken and Barbie in a car in the Barbie movie

Written by Mary Pipher and published in 1994 under the full title Reviving Ophelia: Saving the Selves of Adolescent Girls, the nonfiction book examines the effects of various societal pressures on adolescent girls using case studies from the author’s experience as a therapist. The title refers to the character Ophelia from Shakespeare’s Hamlet, who is often portrayed as a symbol of female vulnerability and victimization. Throughout the book, Pipher draws parallels between Ophelia’s tragic story and the struggles experienced by adolescent girls in contemporary society.

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Although the Barbie movie is not directly about adolescence, Barbie has a similar “Oh, I’m not good enough” realization when she is banished from Barbieland for being a less-than-perfect doll. Accompanied by Ken, she travels to the real world in search of happiness, which will likely be achieved by finding her true sense of self, which Pipher considers one of the keys to overcoming the challenges faced by adolescent girls. While it might function as a fish-out-of-water comedy on the surface, it appears Gerwig took a thoughtful and sensitive approach to the Barbie movie as a genuine character study.

Source: Vogue

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