“Barbie” was an enchanting cinematic experience, weaving together elements of music, humour, and a profound message. Transforming the beloved Barbie and Ken dolls into animated characters endowed with human traits, the film unfolds a joyous celebration until the disruptive notion of ‘death’ intrudes upon their magical world. A captivating exploration of self-discovery and personal growth ensues as individuals from various walks of life, encompassing genders, generations, and roles, undergo a thorough introspective journey to unearth their ‘true selves.’
In many ways, the movie evokes reflections reminiscent of Yom Kippur, the sacred Jewish Holy Day dedicated to contemplating life’s tribulations. Barbie’s narrative delves into the universal human condition, similar to the ritualized Yom Kippur service, which prompts contemplation on personal missteps and the mending of fences. The film is a powerful reminder to self-reflect and consider if we’ve strayed from our values or hurt others.
Like the midnight Selichot services before Yom Kippur, the film’s exploration connects with communal ideas. These gatherings, often featuring public concerts, mirror a collective effort for self-improvement. I experienced this firsthand at a concert in Beit Avichai, Jerusalem, where communal spirit and personal reflection came together.
At its core, the movie echoes the timeless message embedded in our tradition: the constant potential for human growth and improvement. The concept of ‘teshuvah,’ or returning to one’s pure soul, is a testament to our inherent capacity for development. Just as the High Holidays stress, the film emphasizes that, like Barbie and Ken’s evolving story, we all can grow personally and together, discovering moments of peace and connection in a fast-paced world.