This weekend, a ton of people are embarking on a most curious double bill: They’ll be seeing, many on the same day, a feminist movie about a longtime (not always feminist) doll, and an epic about the inventor of the most dangerous weapon in human history (thus far). Those films, of course, are Barbie and Oppenheimer, and the latter’s length is well-known: It runs a full 180 minutes. But how long is Barbie — i.e., how long will brave audiences doing both in succession have to spend in movie theaters?
The answer is: five hours total, as Barbie runs a short but not too short 114 minutes.
Barbie could have been a lean, 90-minute, play-it-safe adaptation. It could have been strictly for kids. But for whatever reason, Mattel decided to aim for an older audience. They enlisted not some hack but Greta Gerwig, the writer-director whose previous film was the fourth big Hollywood adaptation of Little Women. (Before that, of course, was Lady Bird.)
With her fellow filmmaker partner Noah Baumbach (whose most recent directing credit was a take on Don DeLillo’s famously hard-to-film White Noise), the two decided to go ambitious — while still being fun. Will the combo of smarts and vibes work? Critics seem to think so. The rest will have to wait for July 21.