Barbie is not entirely a musical. It’s more a patchwork quilt of influence: the scuttlebutt dialogue of Hawks, the quiet sensuality of Almodóvar, the transient yearning of Wenders. But it’s the musicality that brings it to life—that pours soul into Barbie’s plastic limbs.
Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story is a a true musical, with brass-cracking orchestration; colors so anodyne they whisper, so blaring they shout; voices that soar and temporize and stay. Within seconds, it necessitates its own existence.
Laura Palmer has shifted in essence from a silent dead girl to the distillation of David Lynch’s most operatic revelation: that to harness beauty, with its absolute visibility, is to tell the fables of our world, the horror and the fairy tale.