Controversial 'Barbie' Films: A Tale of Two Takes on Iconic Dolls and Real-Life Struggles

News - 26 July 2023

Greta Gerwig's Barbie movie has captured the attention of audiences everywhere, overshadowing a previous 'Barbie movie' that has since been banned in Hollywood. Directed by Todd Haynes, the film Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story delves into singer Karen Carpenter's battle with an eating disorder that spanned decades. The unique approach of using Barbie dolls to portray Carpenter in the film has sparked both intrigue and controversy.

Karen Carpenter, known for her work as part of the musical duo The Carpenters, tragically passed away as a result of anorexia. Todd Haynes' decision to tell her story using Barbie dolls in the short film was a bold and unconventional choice. Through a combination of stop-motion animation, archive footage, and voice-overs, Haynes crafted a biopic that aimed to shed light on Carpenter's struggles with her mental and physical health.

However, the film's unconventional approach and lack of permission from Carpenter's family led to its swift ban from Hollywood. Many viewers found the film to be disturbing and unsettling, as it tackled a sensitive and intense subject matter without the proper consent or approval.Despite its ban, Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story remains a significant piece of cinematic history, showcasing the creative risks and boundary-pushing storytelling that Todd Haynes is known for.

While the film may have been met with controversy and criticism, its impact on the portrayal of eating disorders in media cannot be denied.In contrast, Greta Gerwig's Barbie movie offers a more light-hearted and whimsical take on the iconic toy doll. With Gerwig's distinctive style and flair for storytelling, the Barbie movie has captivated audiences with its charm and humor.

The film's success highlights the enduring appeal of Barbie as a cultural icon and the endless possibilities for creative storytelling in cinema.As audiences flock to theaters to see Greta Gerwig's Barbie on the big screen, it's important to reflect on the banned 'Barbie movie' that came before. Todd Haynes' Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story may have been controversial and banned, but its impact on the representation of real-life struggles in film cannot be overlooked.

Despite the challenges and obstacles it faced, the film remains a testament to the power of storytelling and the importance of shining a light on difficult and uncomfortable topics.Overall, both Greta Gerwig's Barbie and Todd Haynes' Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story offer unique perspectives on the iconic doll and the struggles of real-life individuals. While one has soared to new heights of success and popularity, the other remains a banned and controversial piece of cinema history.

In the ever-evolving landscape of film and storytelling, both films serve as reminders of the creativity, risks, and challenges that come with portraying complex and sensitive subjects on screen.