Review: ‘Firebrand’ (2023), starring Alicia Vikander and Jude Law

July 8, 2023

by Carla Hay

Jude Law and Alicia Vikander in “Firebrand” (Photo courtesy of MBK Productions)

“Firebrand” (2023)

Directed by Karim Aïnouz

Culture Representation: Taking place in the 1540s, in the United Kingdom, the dramatic film “Firebrand” (based on the novel “Queen’s Gambit: A Novel of Katherine Parr”) features a nearly all-white cast of characters (with one black person and one person of Arab heritage) representing the working-class, middle-class, wealthy and royalty.

Culture Clash: King Henry VIII’s sixth wife Katherine Parr is secretly a feminist who wants to shake up the establishment. 

Culture Audience: “Firebrand” will appeal primarily to people who are fans of stars Jude Law, Alicia Vikander, and dull period dramas about the British royal family.

Alicia Vikander (center) in “Firebrand” (Photo courtesy of MBK Productions)

Good acting from Alicia Vikander and Jude Law can’t save “Firebrand” from its plodding screenplay and lackluster direction. This revisionist drama, about the British royal family in the 1540s, distorts feminism by turning the film into a man-hating lecture. For a movie that’s supposed to be about an eventful time in British history, “Firebrand” has an awfully thin plot that gets padded with a lot of repetition. “Firebrand” had its world premiere at the 2023 Cannes Film Festival.

Directed by Karim Aïnouz, “Firebrand” is based on Elizabeth Fremantle’s 2012 book “Queen’s Gambit: A Novel of Katherine Parr.” (In real life, Katherine Parr’s name was also spelled as Catherine Parr.) Henrietta Ashworth and Jessica Ashworth, who are twin sisters, adapted the novel for the “Firebrand” screenplay. Viewers who know in advance that “Firebrand” is based on a novel, not a biography, might enjoy the movie better. However, it still doesn’t erase the movie’s problems.

“Firebrand” begins with a voiceover monologue by a teenager whom viewers later find out is King Henry VIII’s daughter Princess Elizabeth (played by Junia Rees), who will be the future Queen Elizabeth I. Princess Elizabeth says: “In a rotten, blood-soaked island kingdom cursed by plague and driven by religious unrest, there once was a queen by the name of Katherine Parr. She was the sixth wife of an angry and ailing king.”

Princess Elizabeth continues: “Of the wives who had gone before, two were cast out, one died in childbirth, and two had their heads struck from their bodies, on the king’s order. Twice a widow, but not yet to conceive a child herself, Queen Katherine gathered the other wives’ children around her, and loved us as her own.”

The monologue continues, “She is the only mother I have ever known. The queen believed in a land free of tyranny. She believed she could steer the kingdom to the light. When the king went to war across the sea, Queen Katherine was made regent. For a moment, it was as though a great weight had lifted and a new dawn was approaching.”

An early scene in the movie shows Queen Katherine (played by Vikander) in a wooded area, where she is watching a religious and political activist named Anne Askew (played by Erin Doherty) give a fiery speech to a small group of people assembled around her. “We must rise up and take what’s ours!” shouts Anne. “Revolution is upon us. The king will be with us, or we well go without him!”

Anne sees Katherine nearby and smirks at Katherine before walking away. Anne and Katherine have not seen each other in seven years. And it would be scandalous if King Henry VIII or anyone else in the royal court found out that Katherine was at at this political rally. (“Firebrand” was actually filmed in the German cities of Reinbek and Hamburg, which look convincing as 1540s England.)

When Katherine and Anne have a private moment together in the woods, Katherine tells Anne that King Henry VIII respects Katherine. She tells Anne: “I believe I was chosen to change the king’s mind.” Anne is skeptical. And it turns out that Anne is right.

King Henry VIII (played by Law) returns from the war. He’s every bit the self-centered brute that someone is to be cruel enough to have spouses murdered by execution, just to end the marriages. The king has gout (shown in graphic details in the movie), but that doesn’t stop him from having passionless sex with Katherine, who doesn’t enjoy these encounters but endures them because she doesn’t want ill-tempered Henry to get angry at her. Katherine wants to placate Henry because she wants him to agree with some ideas she has to give women more rights.

Over time, Katherine finally sees the obvious: Henry isn’t going to change his misogynistic ways anytime soon. He does things such as openly flirt with would-be mistresses right in front of Katherine and other people seated at the royal dining table. In this dinner flirtation, Katherine is hostile to the giggling younger woman named Agnes Howard (played by Anna Mawn), who flirts back with Henry, even though Henry (not Agnes) is more at fault.

Meanwhile, Henry hears gossip that Katherine has been hanging out with Anne, who is considered a radical disrupter. Katherine denies it. What’s a secretive, ahead-of-her-time “feminist” to do? She pretends to be a devoted and submissive wife who goes along with whatever her husband wants until she can figure out a way to outsmart him. That’s essentially what takes up about 70% of “Firebrand,” in very tedious scenes that don’t do much to further the story.

Historical figures such as Princess Elizabeth, Princess Mary (played by Patsy Ferran), Prince Edward (played by Patrick Buckley), Thomas Seymour (played by Sam Riley) and Edward Seymour (played by Eddie Marsan) come and go in the movie like background characters. Thomas and Edward were the brothers of Jane Seymour, Henry’s third wife, who died in 1537, shortly after giving birth to the future King Edward VI. Thomas and Katherine were in a romantic relationship before she married Henry, but she chose to marry Henry because he was the king. That intriguing backstory is barely acknowledged in the movie.

Instead of looking like a feminist, as the movie intended, Katherine just looks like someone with delusions of grandeur in thinking that she can change a murderous misogynist like Henry, just by being cute and adoring to him. Katherine also has a catty attitude toward women who make themselves available for meaningless flings to Henry, who doesn’t really love and respect Katherine anyway. It’s also questionable if Katherine’s “feminist” plans are really for the good of all women in the kingdom, or are really ways to gain more power for herself.

Worst of all, even with Katherine’s scheming and trying to fool herself into thinking that she can outwit Henry, she does the most soap opera-ish thing that someone can do in her situation. Katherine’s way of solving her problem doesn’t involve any intelligence. It’s a heinous copout that doesn’t make Katherine any better than some of the corrupt people she acts like she detests.

“Firebrand” is the type of movie that gets it right when it comes to technical crafts, such as production design, costume design and musical score. And there’s nothing terribly wrong with the acting performances in the movie. Law as the villainous Henry is much more entertaining to watch than Vikander’s somewhat muted interpretation of pseudo-feminist Katherine. Even with these assets in “Firebrand,” the movie’s message is very misguided in how problems are dealt with at the end of the story, even if it’s complete fiction.

Review: ‘Blue Bayou’ (2021), starring Justin Chon and Alicia Vikander

September 16, 2021

by Carla Hay

Alicia Vikander, Sydney Kowalske and Justin Chon in “Blue Bayou” (Photo courtesy of Focus Features)

“Blue Bayou” (2021)

Directed by Justin Chon

Culture Representation: Taking place in St. Francisville, Louisiana, the dramatic film “Blue Bayou” features a racially diverse cast of characters (Asian, white, African American and Latino) representing the working-class and middle-class.

Culture Clash: A 37-year-old husband/father, who was adopted as a child from Korea by Americans—but he never officially became a U.S. citizen—faces legal problems and police brutality while his American wife is due to give birth to another child. 

Culture Audience: “Blue Bayou” will appeal primarily to people who are interested in movies that tackle issues of parenthood, immigration, national/ethnic identity, racism, police brutality and health problems.

Sydney Kowalske, Justin Chon and Alicia Vikander in “Blue Bayou” (Photo courtesy of Focus Features)

“Blue Bayou” is filled with so many heavy issues, the movie occasionally veers into melodrama territory. However, the cast members embody their characters with such an emotional authenticity that they transcend the movie’s minor flaws. “Blue Bayou” ultimately gives a searing and heartbreaking portrayal of lives damaged by bad decisions and an often-unforgiving government system.

Justin Chon is the writer, director and protagonist of “Blue Bayou,” which tells the story of what happens when a Korean American’s life is turned upside down when his past catches up to him at a time when he’s trying to get his life back on track. In the movie, Chon portrays Antonio LeBlanc, a tattoo artist who lives and works in the Baton Rouge suburb of St. Francisville, Louisiana. Antonio, who is 37, is happily married to feisty and fearless Kathy LeBlanc (played by Alicia Vikander), who is pregnant with her and Antonio’s first biological child together. They already know that the child will be a girl.

Kathy has a precocious 7-year-old daughter named Jessie (played by Sydney Kowalske) from a previous relationship. Antonio has adopted Jessie, who has a very close and loving relationship with both Antonio and Kathy. However, Jessie has a special bond with Antonio, who is a lot like a kid at heart. Kathy is the parent who is more likely to be the family disciplinarian and planner.

For example, an early scene in the movie shows that Antonio, who’s supposed to drive Jessie to school, impulsively lets Jessie skip school one day to spend the day with him. One of the things that Antonio does on this day is take Jessie to his favorite meditative hangout—a secluded swamp area—to show her where he likes to spend some alone time. (This swamp area ends up becoming a pivotal location in the story.) And the movie’s opening scene shows that Antonio has brought Jessie with him to a job interview.

Antonio is the only father whom Jessie really knows. Jessie’s biological father is a St. Francisville police officer named Ace (played by Mark O’Brien), an ex-lover of Kathy’s who abandoned Kathy when she was pregnant with Jessie. For years, Ace didn’t want anything to do with Jessie and Kathy. But recently, Ace has had a change of heart and is trying to get more visitation time with Jessie.

Kathy is very bitter and angry about Ace being a deadbeat dad. She’s extremely reluctant to let Ace spend time with Jessie because Kathy believes that Ace will break Jessie’s heart. Jessie also doesn’t seem very interested in spending time with Ace, who is essentially a stranger to her. Ace has offered to start paying child support, but Kathy doesn’t want his money. She’s a hospital worker but is currently on maternity leave.

Kathy uses Jessie’s apathy toward Ace as a reason to try to limit the time that Ace can spend with Jessie. When Kathy tells Ace that Jessie doesn’t want to spend more time with Ace, he doesn’t believe Kathy. He is growing increasingly impatient with Kathy stonewalling him. Ace has been hinting that he’ll take this matter to family court if he doesn’t get to spend more time with Jessie. In other words, things could get ugly.

Kathy’s widowed mother Dawn (played by Geraldine Singer), who lives near Kathy and Antonio, is often available to help with raising Jessie. Antonio has told Kathy that his adoptive parents are deceased, and he knows nothing about his biological parents. Dawn has reluctantly accepted Antonio as her son-in-law, because he treats his family with love and respect. However, Dawn gives the impression that she would have preferred that Kathy’s husband be a more “respectable” member of society.

With another child about to be born into his family, Antonio has been looking for a new job that pays more than his current salary as a tattoo artist in a small tattoo shop. It’s later revealed that he’s gotten behind on payments for his tattoo station fees, and his boss Ms. Jacci (played by real-life New Orleans tattoo artist Jacci Gresham) will not advance him any part of his salary. Antonio gets along well with his boss and co-workers, but job at the tattoo shop won’t be enough to support a family of four people.

Antonio’s job interview that opens the movie realistically depicts a lot of the obstacles that Antonio faces when he’s looking for work. He’s an undocumented immigrant. He has a prison record, having been incarcerated for stealing motorcycles, but he hasn’t gotten into trouble since he got out of prison. Antonio is also illiterate, which is something that he doesn’t tell a lot of people unless they need to know. In addition, Antonio has very large tattoos on his neck and arms, thereby automatically disqualifying him for jobs that won’t hire people with noticeable tattoos.

The male interviewer (who is not shown on screen, but is presumably white) is immediately confused by Antonio’s very French last name, which doesn’t match with the type of last name that a lot of people would expect Asians to have. Antonio’s speaking accent is very much from Louisiana, but the interviewer still asks Antonio if Antonio is American. The interviewer’s attitude could be inferred as being racist, because it’s unlikely that Antonio would be asked if he’s American if he were white. Antonio explains that he was born in Korea and was adopted as a toddler by American parents, who raised him in Louisiana.

A bigger issue for Antonio in this interview is explaining his prison record. Although he was in prison for a non-violent crime, he’s still a convicted felon, which is a stigma that makes it hard to find a job with many employers. Antonio says that he’s turned his life around, but the interviewer isn’t willing to take a risk on hiring a convicted felon. When the interviewer finds out that Antonio currently has a job at a tattoo shop, the interviewer tells Antonio that Antonio is better off staying at his current job.

Getting rejected by this interviewer becomes the least of Antonio’s problems. Not long after this interview, Antonio and Kathy are with Jessie in a grocery store when Antonio and Kathy start arguing about Ace having more time with Jessie. Antonio thinks that Ace should be given a chance to redeem himself, while Kathy is against the idea. She’s also upset with Antonio when she finds out that he let Jessie skip school.

It just so happens that Ace and his racist, bullying cop partner Denny (played by Emory Cohen) are in the grocery store too while they’re on patrol duty. Ace and Denny see Antonio and Kathy arguing. Denny, who knows about Ace’s personal problems with Kathy, immediately recognizes Kathy and Antonio. Denny gets very aggressive with Antonio. Because Antonio didn’t break any laws, he starts to walk away with Kathy.

But that isn’t good enough for Denny, who is hell-bent on arresting Antonio. Things quickly spiral out of control, a scuffle ensues, and the next thing you know, Antonio is arrested. This arrest sets off a chain of events that forever alters the lives of Antonio and his family. Without giving away too much information, it’s enough to say that Denny finds out that Antonio is an undocumented immigrant. Antonio and Kathy end up hiring a lawyer named Barry Boucher (played by Vondie Curtis Hall), who is sympathetic but doesn’t gloss over the harsh realities of what could happen to Antonio.

Antonio is bailed out of jail, but he faces mounting legal fees and overwhelming financial pressures, while Kathy is due to give birth in the near future. One day, while Antonio is in a hospital waiting room while Kathy is having an obstetric exam, he randomly meets a woman who’s about the same age named Parker Nguyen (played by Linh Dan Pham) near a vending machine, which is malfunctioning by not dispensing an item after receiving the payment. Parker and Antonio figure out how to get the item from the machine, and then they go their separate ways.

However, it won’t be the last time that Parker and Antonio see each other. In the midst of Antonio’s turmoil, Parker and Antonio become friends with each other. Parker is also an immigrant (she’s originally from Vietnam), and she has a secret that she eventually reveals to Antonio. Her secret gives him a different perspective on the problems that he’s experiencing.

“Blue Bayou” has ebbs and flows and can be messy—just like life. Therefore, some viewers might lose patience with the way that the movie has a tendency to wander and then get snapped back into suspenseful melodrama. For the most part, the movie depicts people and situations as realistically as possible. The family dynamics between Antonio, Kathy and Jessie are among the highlights of the “Blue Bayou.” The unexpected friendship between Antonio and Parker is also one of the best things about the movie.

However, the movie stumbles somewhat in the last 15 minutes, which crams in plot twists and a “race against time” cliché that might be too contrived for some viewers to take. Despite these plot manipulations, “Blue Bayou” remains authentic in portraying an American immigrant experience that is often not depicted in a narrative feature film: What happens in the U.S. to people who were adopted as children from other countries, and their adoptive parents didn’t take the necessary steps to make these children U.S. citizens?

When Antonio married Kathy, who is a U.S. citizen, the couple did not file the required paperwork to make him a legal resident alien by marriage. A U.S. law passed in 2000 allowed people adopted from other countries as children to become U.S. citizens. However, the law doesn’t apply to people, such as Antonio, who were adopted before the year 2000. “Blue Bayou” has some emotional scenes showing Antonio’s turmoil over wondering what circumstances led to his adoption and why his adoptive parents never bothered to make him a U.S. citizen.

“Blue Bayou” gets its title from a poignant scene in the film where Antonio, Kathy and Jessie have been invited to a backyard barbecue held by Parker’s family. During the get-together, Kathy gets up and sings a karaoke version of Linda Ronstadt’s 1977 hit “Blue Bayou.” The song’s lyrics have added meaning, considering what Antonio and his family are going through at the time this event takes place. (And yes, Vikander does her own singing in the movie. She’s a very good singer with a smoky tone to her voice.)

Because “Blue Bayou” is a story of a family that’s overwhelmed with several big problems within a short period of time, the movie can come across as one big pile-on of drama. But within the context of all of these troubles and agitations are a lot of uncomfortable truths that are faced by many people in real life. What “Blue Bayou” demonstrates so beautifully is that amid all the trauma and stresses, the love of family can provide a resilience that no law can break.

Focus Features will release “Blue Bayou” in select U.S. cinemas on September 17, 2021.

Review: ‘The Green Knight,’ starring Dev Patel, Alicia Vikander, Joel Edgerton, Sarita Choudhury, Sean Harris and Ralph Ineson

July 28, 2021

by Carla Hay

Dev Patel and Sean Harris in “The Green Knight” (Photo courtesy of A24)

“The Green Knight”

Directed by David Lowery

Culture Representation: Taking place in an unspecified ancient time in England, the fantasy horror film “The Green Knight” features a predominantly white cast of characters (with a few Indians) representing the working-class, middle-class and royalty.

Culture Clash: King Arthur’s adventure-seeking nephew Gawain volunteers to take a life-threatening challenge from the Green Knight, and Gawain encounters many obstacles and temptations along the way.

Culture Audience: “The Green Knight” will appeal primarily to people who are interested in an atmospheric and heady reimagining of the King Arthur legends.

Ralph Ineson (forefront) in “The Green Knight” (Photo courtesy of A24)

“The Green Knight” brings an unconventional horror spin on the King Arthur legends by putting more emphasis on the human mind and spirit experiencing terror rather than on elaborate and bloody physical battles. People who are expecting “The Green Knight” to be a fast-paced action film might be disappointed by the movie’s slow pacing. However, viewers who are patient enough to go on this “head trip” of a movie will find a lot to marvel and ponder in this cinematic retelling of ancient literature.

Written and directed by David Lowery (who has a tendency to make deliberately paced films with complicated protagonists), “The Green Knight” is told in chapters, with each chapter title appearing on the screen. “The Green Knight” is a filmed adaptation of an anonymously written chivalric romance called “Gawain and the Green Knight,” which was published in the 14th century. Do viewers have to know this story or any Arthurian legends before seeing “The Green Knight”? No, but it helps.

“The Green Knight” begins during a Christmas season and ends one year later. In the opening of the movie, rebellious and stubborn knight Gawain (played by Dev Patel) has spent the night before Christmas getting drunk and being with his lover Helen (played by Anais Rizzo), who is a commoner. When Gawain comes home, his nameless mother (played by Sarita Choudhury) asks Gawain where he was all night. Gawain lies and says that he was attending Mass. His mother, who smells the liquor on him, replies sarcastically, “Have you been drinking the sacrament all night?”

Gawain’s mother is the sister of the king (played by Sean Harris), who rules over the kingdom with his queen wife (played Kate Dickie). Although these ruling royals do not have names in this movie, all indications are that the king is the legendary King Arthur. Gawain might have lived a carefree lifestyle as the nephew of a king, but that will soon change in this story.

On Christmas Day, the king, queen, the Knights of the Round Table (including Gawain) and other assorted people have gathered for a formal court meeting. The king summons Gawain to sit beside him on the throne and remarks that it’s the first time that he’s given this privileged invitation to Gawain. The king asks that Gawain give him a very specific Christmas gift: Gawain must tell a tale about himself.

No sooner does the king make this request when the Green Knight (played by Ralph Ineson) appears on horseback in the court. In this movie, the Green Knight doesn’t look completely human, but more like a cross between a human and a tree. The Green Knight, who tests the characters of men, has arrived to deliver a challenge.

The written message that the Green Knight delivers upon his arrival is read by the queen, and the voice that comes out of her mouth is a deep and eerie man’s voice, as if the Green Knight is reading it himself. It’s one of many spooky touches to the film that Lowery adds to ensure that viewers know that this isn’t a typical knight movie. Get used to seeing a lot of cinematography drenched in mist when watching “The Green Knight.”

The Green Knight’s challenge is simple but one that would strike fear in the heart of the average person. The Green Knight dares any knight to behead the Green Knight. And in return, the Green Knight will behead his killer exactly one year later, at the Green Knight’s Green Chapel. Gawain is the only person to voluntarily step forward and accept this challenge.

Why would anyone take this dare? The king whispers to Gawain, “Remember it’s only a game,” as he gives Gawain a sword to use for the beheading. The Green Knight lays down his axe in a sign of surrender. Gawain beheads the Green Knight, who gets up, picks up his own head, and then chuckles, “One year hence,” as he gallops away on his horse, leaving his axe behind.

The movie then fast-forwards to nearly a year later. Gawain is on a mission to find the Green Knight at the Green Chapel, where they agreed to meet for the promised beheading. Along the way, Gawain encounters various dangers and complications that could impede his journey. And all the while, viewers (even those who’ve read the book) will be wondering if Gawain really will be beheaded, or if his life will be spared if he sees the Green Knight again.

Gawain meets several new people in his travels, including a thieving, nameless scavenger (played by Barry Keoghan); a red-haired trauma victim in a long white nightgown named Winifred (played by Erin Kellyman); and a gregarious unnamed lord (played by Joel Edgerton) and his seductive wife Essel (played by Alicia Vikander), also described in the film credits as The Lay. An intelligent red fox ends up accompanying Gawain and becomes his companion for part of his trek.

The lord and his lady live in a castle with a mute, unnamed elderly woman, who is always blindfolded. (No explanation is given on who this woman is, and Gawain doesn’t ask.) The couple invites Gawain to spend the night in their home on December 21, just a few days before Gawain is supposed to make the Christmas deadline to meet up with the Green Knight. What happens in the home is a turning point in the movie, which makes some big changes from the original source material.

“The Green Knight” takes admirable risks in not following the conventional tropes found in movies about a knight on an adventure. There are no massive battleground scenes, no damsel in distress who’s the knight’s love interest, no kingdom whose leadership is in jeopardy. And although “The Green Knight” has many elements of a horror movie (including some bloody gore), the real fear in this movie is Gawain’s dread of holding up his end of the bargain. His integrity is at stake, as well as his life.

The movie has some strikingly haunting visuals that are times psychedelic. In a memorable sequence, Gawain encounters giant nude, androgynous people (who are the size of skyscrapers) while trying to find the Green Chapel. Gawain tries to talk to one of these giant people as they walk past him, but communication is difficult, and they can’t really understand each other. It’s a very hallucinogenic and effective scene.

“The Green Knight” also doesn’t shy away from references to brutality toward women, in an era where women were treated like property. When Gawain first meets Winifred, she mentions that a lord tried to rape her and beheaded her when she resisted. Gawain is initially confused because Winifred looks like a person who is alive, not a ghost. However, the way Winifred manifests herself in this story—whether she’s alive, dead or somewhere in between—is on her own terms, as if she’s taken back the power that was stolen from her.

Patel’s depiction of Gawain is as a flawed but well-intentioned hero. It’s an understated role where he rises to the occasion of expressing a wide range of emotions without distracting melodrama and while still portraying a character who must present a stoic demeanor to strangers. The other characters in “The Green Knight” are somewhat two-dimensional and/or have very limited screen time.

However, Edgerton’s portrayal of the lord and Vikander’s portrayal of his wife Essel are intriguing and make enough of an impact to suggest that this couple could easily have an entire movie about their lives together. But make no mistake: The humanity of “The Green Knight” resonates mostly because of Patel’s layered performance, which never lets viewers forget that Gawain is a human being who can falter, not as an unrealistic knight who will always put fear aside to rise to the occasion.

Some of the visuals in “The Green Knight” have themes of Christianity versus paganism, or humans versus the environment. Although there’s violence in the movie, it’s not gratuitous. Lowery is the type of filmmaker who takes his time in immersing viewers in the movie’s unique atmosphere instead of rushing from scene to scene and dialogue to dialogue. And there are no gimmicky jump scares.

Many other horror stories rely on the premise that murder victims don’t know when they’re going to die. “The Green Knight” skillfully presents a different type of horror: Someone who volunteered to die at a pre-determined date. Gawain spends most of this treacherous journey by himself, as he reflects on his own mortality, as well as his own morality.

In its clever way, “The Green Knight” is an artistically creative statement of how it’s human nature for people not to want to think about their own deaths. People who have to confront their own deaths usually have to face another fear: reflecting on their lives and holding themselves accountable for their misdeeds and mistakes.

A24 will release “The Green Knight” in U.S. cinemas on July 30, 2021.

Mattel debuts movie-themed Barbies for ‘A Wrinkle in Time’ and ‘Tomb Raider’

February 19, 2018

by Jennifer Smith

Mattel has unveiled new Barbie dolls based on two fantasy adventure movies releasing in 2018: “A Wrinkle in Time” and “Tomb Raider.”

“A Wrinkle in Time” Barbie dolls based on the characters in the movie played by Mindy Kaling, Oprah Winfrey and Reese Witherspoon (Photo courtesy of Mattel)

For “A Wrinkle in Time,” the three new Barbie dolls are inspired by the characters of Mrs. Who (played by Mindy Kaling), Mrs. Which (played by Oprah Winfrey) and Mrs. Whatsit (played by Reese Witherspoon).  For “Tomb Raider,” the new Barbie doll is based on the character of Lara Croft (played by Alicia Vikander).

“A Wrinkle in Time” is the live-action film adaption of the classic children’s book written by Madeleine L’Engle. The movie, directed by Ava DuVernay, will be released by Walt Disney Pictures on March 9, 2018.

The “Wrinkle in Time” Barbie dolls go on sale for at a suggested retail price of about $50 each on the following dates:

  • Mrs. Whatsit: March 16, 2018
  • Mrs. Which: March 19, 2018
  • Mrs. Who: April 1, 2018

The movie “Tomb Raider,” directed by Roar Uthaug, is based on the video game of the same title. Warner Bros. Pictures will release the movie on March 16, 2018.  Angelina Jolie previously starred as Lara Croft in the 2001 movie “Lara Croft Tom Raider” and its 2003 sequel “Lara Croft Tome Raider: Cradle of Life.”

The “Tomb Raider” Barbie was unveiled at the 2018 New York Toy Fair. The doll goes on sale on March 9, 2018, at a suggested retail price of $29.99.

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