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films like Barbie

Absolutely obsessed with Barbie? Here’s what to watch next from director Greta Gerwig

They have way less pink, but they’re still pretty damn good


The release of the highly anticipated Barbie movie has got us all dressing head-to-toe in pink in the name of feminism and referring to men under the umbrella term of “kens”. If this speaks to your soul and you’re at a loose end with what to watch next, do not fear, welcome to Greta-Gerwig-Land. If this is your first time hearing about the feminist icon that directed the pink and plastic motion picture, we’ve got you covered. Famous for her coming-of-age movies that centre around female relationships, here is a definitive list of Gerwig’s best work, including some films like Barbie for you to watch next.

Little Women

If you haven’t seen Greta Gerwig’s star-studded retelling of the Louisa May-Alcott novel at least once (this year), you need to watch it immediately. The classic tale of four sisters navigating life and love gives a strong case of emotional whiplash – you’ll be crying then laughing then crying some more. And if Timothee Chalamet’s feature doesn’t make you want to be the fifth March sister, I don’t know what will. If the only thing you know from this movie is the Florence Pugh monologue about being a woman that circulates on TikTok, educate yourself. 

Lady Bird 

films like Barbie

via A24

This film is a heart-wrenching story about a strained mother-daughter relationship that has become a favourite among young women everywhere. No comparisons can be drawn between the aesthetics of this character-focused film and Barbie, but the messages about womanhood are similar in both. Lady Bird features Timothee Chalamet and Saoirse Ronan, a pair Gerwig has described as her “children”. It has been revealed that they were both supposed to have had brief cameos in Barbie, but this didn’t end up happening. You’ll just have to watch Lady Bird instead to get your Chalamet fix, although his character in the movie is certainly less likeable than the real thing.

Frances Ha

A tale about female friendships in your 20s and how people come and go from each other’s lives that is well worth a watch. Don’t let the fact that it’s a black-and-white movie put you off. Gerwig wrote and directed the film with her now husband, Noah Baumbach, and if that wasn’t enough, she also stars in it. For all you film nerds out there, it’s a “mumblecore”, and for all of us film muggles, that just means it’s really low budget with a lot of improv, world’s away from the $145 million that it cost to build Barbie Land. But Frances Ha is distinctly Gerwig, with the protagonist’s endless pursuit of happiness and an ending filled with uncertainty and nostalgia – a movie that deserves all the praise it gets.

No Strings Attached

A tale about female friendships in your 20s and how people come and go from each other’s lives that is well worth a watch. Don’t let the fact that it’s a black-and-white movie put you off. Gerwig wrote and directed the film with her now husband, Noah Baumbach, and if that wasn’t enough, she also stars in it. For all you film nerds out there, it’s a “mumblecore”, and for all of us film muggles, that just means it’s really low budget with a lot of improv, world’s away from the $145 million that it cost to build Barbie Land. But Frances Ha is distinctly Gerwig, with the protagonist’s endless pursuit of happiness and an ending filled with uncertainty and nostalgia – a movie that deserves all the praise it gets.

No Strings Attached

Described as an “absurdist comedy-drama”, White Noise follows a blended family in the 80s navigating an environmental disaster. Greta stars in it alongside Adam Driver, who she also worked with in Frances Ha. This movie is definitely wacky, like Barbie – you could even say it has a slight Kenergy about it. Fortunately, it’s on Netflix, so there’s no need to dress up and make a day of it at the cinema.

Isle of Dogs

Greta Gerwig and Wes Anderson; name a better duo, I’ll wait… but seriously, this stop-motion film set mainly on a Japanese island, should definitely be on your watch list. Gerwig plays a minor Voice 0ver role in this story about a fictional world where all the dogs in Japan are banished to a remote island after a canine pandemic. Anderson, a director famous for his striking visual style, and for films such as The Grand Budapest Hotel and The French Dispatch, used real puppets to bring the tale to life. Despite the craftsmanship, it’s one of Anderson’s most overlooked films. 

Jackie

This biographical drama centres around First Lady Jacqueline ‘Jackie’ Kennedy following the assignation of her husband President John F Kennedy. Gerwig plays Jackie’s personal secretary, acting alongside Natalie Portman. This retelling of a well-known historical event focuses on the aftermath, specifically the grieving process Jackie undergoes, while simultaneously trying to manage the political fallout of her husband’s death. Although not as bright or as witty as Barbie, the movie still centres around a strong woman, trying to navigate the trials that real life throws her way.

Greenberg 

This critically acclaimed piece is played by an all-star cast and follows the life of a man recovering from a nervous breakdown, learning how to take life slowly. Gerwig plays his love interest and the pair engage in an on-off relationship throughout the film. It’s full of awkwardness, disappointment and vulnerability but still manages to instil a certain level of hope into the viewer.

Directed by Gerwig’s now husband, Baumbach, the couple first met on the set of the film and started dating a year later. Arguably, it doesn’t top the couple’s later collaboration on Frances Ha, but it’s still a great movie. What’s really baffling is that this movie, and the others mentioned above, exist in the same cinematic universe as a movie that features a bleach blonde Ryan Gosling and people loosing their minds over flat feet, but I guess that’s just the genius of Greta Gerwig.

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