'Can't wait!' UAE's Barbie-holics rejoice as theatres gear up to screen film this month

Several residents have said they will be digging out their pink outfits and shoes when attending the movie premiere


Angel Tesorero

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AP file
AP file

Published: Fri 4 Aug 2023, 4:33 PM

Last updated: Fri 4 Aug 2023, 4:59 PM

Emiratis and expatriates of various ages are eagerly excited to finally watch the highly awaited Barbie movie that has been cleared for release in the UAE.

Cinemas in the UAE have not made any announcement yet but listed August 31 as the release date of the movie based on the popular doll that has grossed more than $800 million at the global box office since July 20.

Feminism, inner childhood, women empowerment, nostalgia and staying true to oneself are the elements that endear the global audience to the movie directed by Oscar-nominated writer/director Greta Gerwig, starring Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling in the lead roles.

The movie cuts across generations and adult moviegoers in the UAE expect no less than “a fun time out to watch their childhood memories come to life” with many expected to dig out their pink dresses and shoes from their wardrobes to watch the movie.

Pink power

Speaking to Khaleej Times on Friday, UAE national and children’s book author Ebtisam Al-Beiti said: “I'm really looking forward to watching the Barbie movie! As a child, some of my earliest experiences of female empowerment were linked with Barbie's many wonderful career and hobby options.”

“She could be an astronaut or a vet and still live a fun life skiing with lots of friends; have a beautiful house and own wonderful clothes. Barbie sends an important message out to little girls that they can aspire to be anything they want,” Al-Beiti explained, adding: “My sisters and I built a Barbie empire acquiring her yacht, home, cars, and everything in between.”

“I can't wait to enjoy a fun time out and watch our childhood memories come to life! I will definitely be one of the first people to watch it. I will need to dig out my pink shoes from my wardrobe before its release,” added the Emirati author who wrote children’s book ‘Can I Go Out Now?’ and ‘Citrus the Smoothie Sloth’.

Another Emirati storyteller and artist shared her views. Maitha Al Khayat, who has published several books, including My Own Special Way that was awarded best children’s book in Riyadh and Father’s Date Palm Trees, said: “I like Barbies because when I was a little girl I used to play with Barbies. But I was not very excited about the storyline of the current Warner Bros. movie and it didn’t affect me that much when there was a delay in the release.

“However, if my sisters are going, I might go just because I love hanging out with them. We are all addicted to anything in the shade of pink,” she added.

Feminist message

For young Filipino author and champion public speaker Izabella Faye Lebig, the feminist message of the Barbie movie has her incredibly psyched. She underscored “a strong, independent female character overcoming the challenges of being a girl without giving up on what she wants is so motivating to witness.”

“The film delivers the strong message that we should never allow others to define us or limit our potential and that we can be anything that we want to be. Knowing that girls can overcome any challenge with grit and perseverance encouraged me and made me proud to be a girl,” Lebig noted, adding: “I believe that watching this film and being reminded of the determination and resilience that women possess is essential for everyone, regardless of age or gender.

Her father, Ben, added: “I have seen a lot of buzz around this movie in social media on how it is redefining modern feminism. It got me curious on their new take on feminism and will watch with my family, especially since we have a teenage girl.”

Nostalgic feel

Watching Barbie will be a delightful and pretty-in-pink trip down the memory lane for Greek expatriate Eleni Vasilaki. She said: “Everybody loves Barbie! The feelings and memories it brings are happy and loving! I’ll definitely watch the movie to reminisce my childhood favourite doll!”

Pink inspiration

Another big Barbie fan, 12-year old Ella Yap, said she finds great inspiration from Barbie. She shared: “Since I was five years old, I am a fan of Barbie. Even on Netflix I watch Barbie series because it enhances my creativity.”

She added: “I am an aspiring artist and the movie makes girls like me believe that everything is possible – that we dream and believe that our dreams will come true. I am very excited and will be counting the days till Barbie’s first day of showing in the UAE.”


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