James Cameron Applauds Greta Gerwig For America Ferrera’s ‘Barbie’ Monologue: “You Basically Sum Up Thousands Of Years Of The Female Dilemma In One Minute”
While many an audience member found the moment to be one of film’s most heavy-handed, Avatar franchise creator James Cameron has nothing but praise for the ‘feminist monologue’ director Greta Gerwig included in her recent live-action take on Barbie.
Occurring near the film’s climax, the monologue in question begins when Barbie, as portrayed by Margot Robbie, finds herself stricken with self-doubt after convincing herself that, as the ‘default’ version of the doll, she did not have any interesting or distinguishing traits.
“I’m not Stereotypical Barbie pretty,” laments Barbie to her new friend from the real-world, Gloria, as portrayed by America Ferrera. “I’m not…smart enough to be interesting. You’re so smart. I can’t do brain surgery, I’ve never flown a plane. I’m not the president. No one on the Supreme Court is me.”
“I’m not good enough for anything,” concludes the despondent doll.
It response to this final bit of despair from Barbie, the aforementioned Gloria then attempts to reassure her of her self-worth with a lengthy speech, beginning with the affirmation that “It is literally impossible to be a woman.”
“You are so beautiful and so smart, and it kills me that you don’t think you’re good enough,” Gloria continues. “Like we have to always be extraordinary. But somehow, we’re always doing it wrong. You have to be thin but not too thin, and you can never say you want to be thin.”
“You have to say you want to be healthy, but also you have to be thin,” she further lists. “You have to have money, but you can’t ask for money because that’s crass. You have to be a boss but you can’t be mean. You have to lead, but you can’t squash other people’s ideas. You’re supposed to love being a mother, but don’t talk about your kids all the damn time. You have to be a career woman but also always be looking out for other people. You have to answer for men’s bad behavior, which is insane, but if you point that out, you’re accused of complaining. You’re supposed to stay pretty for men but not so pretty that you tempt them too much or that you threaten other women because you’re supposed to be a part of the sisterhood but always stand out.”
“And always be grateful,” Gloria then reminds Barbie. “But never forget that the system is rigged, so find a way to acknowledge that but also always be grateful. You have to never get old, never be rude, never show off, never be selfish, never fall down, never fail, never show fear, never get out of line. It’s too hard, it’s too contradictory, and nobody gives you a medal or says thank you.”
Ultimately, the exasperated mom concludes, “And it turns out, in fact, that not only are you doing everything wrong but also everything is your fault.”
“I’m just so tired of watching myself and every single other woman tie herself into knots so that people will like us,” she tells Barbie. “And if all of that is also true for a doll just representing a woman… then I don’t even know.”
And according to Cameron, this monologue is not only one of his favorites from the film, but also stands a true example of Gerwig’s talent as a filmmaker.
Speaking to the Barbie director as part of Variety’s Director on Director series, Cameron declared of the scene, “You basically sum up thousands of years of the female dilemma in one minute.”
“I don’t think it’s ever been done as succinctly and hit the mark so perfectly,” he added.