On the occasion of Barbie’s blockbuster summer, FQ columnist Caetlin Benson-Allott situates director Greta Gerwig’s latest success in relation to her previous two films, Little Women (2019) and Lady Bird (2017). All three films are female-centered coming-of-age stories, prompting Benson-Allott to read them as a trilogy. Doing so not only honors Gerwig’s achievement as an auteur, Benson-Allott suggests, but also generates important questions about what these films say about girlhood and middle-class white American women’s quest for autonomy and self-determination. Gerwig’s trilogy reveals an artist struggling to make sense of girl culture and the societal paradigms that impact it.

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