Barbie ending explained: Does Barbie become human?
Greta Gerwig’s Barbie was a movie wrapped in mystery, so what happens in its ending? Read on, and we’ll explain all.
Wrapped in plastic, she’s fantastic, and her movie always seemed like it was going to be fantastic as well. Barbie, the upcoming film by Greta Gerwig, is certainly one of the most highly anticipated movies of the year.
As we state in our 5-Star review of the movie, “Barbie is an enigma of a movie. It is a children’s film made for adults, done in a thoughtful and loving way. It’s comforting, but never pandering. Like finding one of your old dolls in a drawer at your parent’s house, Barbie manages to take a stereotypical object we’re all familiar with, and make it personally existential.”
But what do we mean by these comments? Barbie’s plot had been wrapped up in so much mystery that you may be wondering how it all actually ends. Well, read on to find out, but obvious SPOILERS FOR BARBIE AHEAD!
What happens in the Barbie movie?
Starring Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling, the film follows the titular doll as she embarks on a journey to the real world, exploring the Mattel company and the concept of girlhood along the way. And Ken is also there. We should mention that the whole time this pair is in the real world, they’re still dolls, meaning they don’t have anything…down there. Yes, this will be important later.
Barbie spends her time in the real world facing sexism and finding out the complicated relationship that modern women have with Barbie. She ends up thinking that she doesn’t fit in anywhere, despite her growing love for the outside world. Even when she finds the girl and woman – Sasha and Gloria – who used to play with her, things don’t exactly go well, as the reason that Barbie has been defuncting is due to the hardships that Gloria is going through, which Barbie doesn’t know how to fix.
Greta Gerwig revealed to Vogue that this plot intended to evoke the way society can strip girls of self-actualisation: “They’re funny and brash and confident, and then they just – stop,” Gerwig explains. Part of the writing process was thinking “How is [Barbie’s] journey the same thing that a teenage girl feels? All of a sudden, she thinks, ‘Oh, I’m not good enough.’”
However, at the same time Ken is loving the real world, because unlike in Barbieland, where doctors and Presidents are women, the real world is overrun by patriarchy. Ken, who had been feeling unappreciated by Barbie, learns as much as he can about patriarchy – though he mostly just ends up getting a fascination with horses – and begins thinking like all those alpha male podcasters. As you may know, this all ties into a theory we had brought up long before the movie even came out.
He then takes this knowledge back to Barbieland, so when Barbie herself returns with Gloria and Sasha, the land is a shell of what it once was. The Kens rule the Ken-dom, and Barbies have basically been brainwashed to accept their place as lesser people. The Kens are even planning to destroy Barbieland’s constitution so they can be in power forever. Having already stolen her dreamhouse, Ken mocks Barbie, and leaves her feeling completely useless.
But thankfully, with the help of Gloria, Sasha, Allan, and some defunct Barbies, Barbie is able to set things right, by pitting the Kens against each other and de-programming the brainwashed Barbies through Gloria’s knowledge of being a woman under patriarchy.
Ken doesn’t take his defeat super well, and Barbie goes to talk to him, knowing that this persona he’s put on is false. Truthfully, he doesn’t know who he is without Barbie, to which she responds, “You’re Ken.” Having learned to make an identity for herself, she encourages him to figure out who he is in a similar way.
Does Barbie become human in the film’s ending?
Yes, Barbie is turned into a human at the end of the movie, in a very moving scene.
During an earlier part of the movie, Barbie runs into Ruth Handler, the woman who created Barbie, and the two share a very wholesome moment with each other. The pair meet again at the end of the movie, once Barbie has save Barbieland.
Handler states how she meant for Barbie to be a universal concept, rather than one perfect thing. She and Barbie take a walk together, ending up in a sort of in-between world, and Barbie reveals that she wishes to be human. At first, Handler is hesitant, arguing that “Humans only have one ending. Ideas live forever.” A real woman’s life is not easy, which Barbie is aware of, but the beautiful things she’d seen in the real world were worth it.
Handler agrees, takes Barbie’s hand, and the doll is shown an emotional home-video montage of girls and women, as Billie Eilish’s “What Was I Made For?” plays. Turns out that this isn’t random stock footage, but actual recordings of the cast and crew’s friends and family. Greta Gerwig admitted to Time that she even included images that star Margot Robbie had filmed herself on a Super 8 over the years: “It’s like sneaking in humanity to something that everybody thinks is a hunk of plastic.”
Barbie’s not the only one who gets a beautiful ending. Ken now rejoices at the idea of being “Ken,” even opening his heart up to the other Kens around him.
Gloria and Sasha, who had disagreed on what Barbie represented and overall had a tense relationship throughout the film, finally have a moment of genuine connection. Gloria even implores the CEO and workers of Mattel, who have followed them to Barbieland, to create an “Ordinary Barbie.” Mattel – with some financial confirmation – thinks it’s a brilliant idea.
But what about Barbie? Well, the final scene portrays Barbie as a real-life human, being dropped off by Gloria and Sasha, who wish her luck. Barbie steps out in her Birkenstocks, enters an office, and goes up to a receptionist with a smile. “Hello,” she says, “I’m here to see a gynaecologist.” And the movie ends.
If you’re wondering what happens during the credits, click here.
The Barbie movie is in cinemas worldwide now. Check out our other coverage below:
- Barbie Movie review: She’s everything, and so is Ken
- Best Easter eggs in the Barbie movie
- Barbie 2: Everything we know so far
- Does Barbie have a post-credits scene?
- Barbie reviews: First reactions praise “cinematic triumph”
- Is the new Barbie movie for kids?
- Barbie has a Snyder Cut joke and fans are already angry
- Barbie movie soundtrack: All songs, artists, & more
- Barbie banned in Vietnam over infamous “nine dash line”
- The 33 movies that inspired Barbie
- Barbie movie cast: All actors and characters