Bama Rush star turned TikTok creator Kylan Darnell built her platform around southern hospitality, “Legally Blonde” esque girl power, and the University of Alabama. In every video, she opens with her own personal tagline, “hope you’re having a great day, not just a good day.”
This background in mind, it only made sense for the TikTok creator to head to theaters on opening weekend of Greta Gerwig’s “Barbie.” Donning a hot pink ensemble like the thousands of theatergoers across the U.S., Darnell left the theater feeling less than empowered, and more disappointed.
Darnell’s “Barbie” review was largely met with negative commentary, leading to her making the decision to shut off her comments. Her general assessment was that “Barbie is supposed to be in love with Ken” and “offer an escape from reality,” instead of the more existential feminist undertones present in the film.
Several users stitched Darnell’s video explaining their takes on her review, with some arguing that she lacks knowledge of intersectionality, and others feeling that she was simply unfamiliar with the director’s body of work. Greta Gerwig made a name for herself in the film industry for her ability to write complex female characters and depict the multifaceted elements of girlhood. The film notably appealed to nostalgia without directly catering to children, something Darnell also did not expect.
After turning off the comments on the original post, Darnell posted another video further explaining her assessment of the film. She went on to attempt to challenge several internet assessments of herself, arguing that she did not always have “pretty privilege” and white privilege because she wears hearing aids.
My @barbie movie hot take opinion that infuriated many….. barbie barbiemovie2023 bama bamarush bamarushtok2023
The video touched upon her further dislike for the film, specifically an incident in which Ken (Ryan Gosling) introduces the concept of patriarchy to Barbieland. She asserted that everyone had the right to their opinion on the movie, and that her distaste for it did not make her anti-woman, as she has her own insecurities and continues to work with women empowerment organizations.
The second video was met with mixed reactions. Some offered words of support for the digital creator after publicly discussing her disability for the first time, and others felt that she used it as a scapegoat against constructive criticism.
One user commented “it’s like you still missed the point, I feel like in a couple years it’ll click.” Another commented “thank you so much for your story. You are a true inspiration for girls.” Darnell’s videos made their way to Twitter, where the conversation continued.
She def was not understanding the plot girl that was literally a whole conversation they had in the movie
— And I cry, though it's silly… (@cold_cashdivine) July 25, 2023
Darnell has not commented further on the film since her two videos, but posted a video today featuring an audio about self confidence and empowerment.
“Barbie” is now in theaters globally.