Ruth Handler’s Role in ‘Barbie’ Movie Explained

Barbie is in on the joke in additional methods than one.

Greta Gerwig’s movie, which stars Margot Robbie as “Stereotypical Barbie,” is the primary film to debut from revived Mattel Movies and regardless of its ties to the corporate, Barbie isn’t afraid to poke enjoyable on the controversy surrounding the well-known doll.

Along with addressing gender stereotypes and commentary round Barbie’s unrealistic determine (and dream world), the movie doesn’t shrink back from creator Ruth Handler’s private struggles.

Ruth invented Barbie in 1959 throughout her reign as president of Mattel from 1945 to 1975. She named the toy after her daughter, Barbara Handler. (Ruth shared Barbara and son Kenneth — the title behind the Ken doll — with husband Elliot Handler, who died in 2011.)

“A Barbie film is barely ever going to be a mother-daughter film on so many ranges as a result of it was Ruth Handler and Barbara — that was the connection,” director Gerwig advised Time forward of the Friday, July 21, launch.

Whereas Ruth died in 2002, some followers had been satisfied Barbara makes a cameo because the older lady who shares a candy second with Robbie’s Barbie on a bench within the “actual world.” Gerwig shut down the hypothesis, nevertheless, in an interview with The New York Instances, revealing the half is performed by Oscar-winning costume designer Ann Roth.

“I like that scene a lot,” Gerwig advised Individuals. “The way in which Margot performs that second is so light and so unforced.”

Previous to the movie’s launch, Barbara did give her stamp of approval on the casting of Robbie, telling TMZ that the trailer appeared “tremendous cute and she or he’s particularly liking Margot’s voice.”

Whereas Barbara advised the outlet that she thinks her mom would benefit from the concept of the doll coming to the massive display screen, Ruth’s private points are mocked within the film by portrayer Rhea Perlman, who makes jokes concerning the IRS and tax evasion. In keeping with the Los Angeles Instances, Ruth was accused of creating false experiences to the Securities and Trade Fee and fraud in 1978. She was fined $57,000 and sentenced to 2,500 hours of group service after pleading no contest. The movie alludes to Ruth being pushed out of Mattel amid the monetary points that first raised eyebrows in 1975.

Producer Robbie Brenner advised Selection earlier this month that Mattel was all the time down with Gerwig’s model of the script, which she cowrote with companion Noah Baumbach.

“When all people learn the script right here for the primary time, I’m positive there have been issues that had been like, ‘Wow, that form of pushes issues slightly bit,’” Brenner stated. “However all of us determined there have been going to be moments the place it would really feel slightly scary, however we’re going to be rewarded for that. Being secure on this world doesn’t work. We wish it to be daring. Barbie is daring. She’s achieved unimaginable issues. She’s a trailblazer. And that’s what we did.”

Perlman’s Ruth additionally jokes about having a double mastectomy within the film. (Ruth was identified with breast most cancers in 1970.) Whereas America Ferrera’s character Gloria’s relationship with daughter Sasha (Ariana Greenblatt) is a significant plot level, the emotional ending between Barbie and Ruth can be reflective of a mother-daughter relationship.

Barbie is in theaters now.