10 Colourful Movies to Watch if you Liked Barbie

Andrew Buckle,

The Barbie phenomenon has taken the world by storm, with Greta Gerwig’s vibrant live-action interpretation of the adventures of the eponymous Mattel fashion doll becoming the year’s highest-grossing film at the box office. Starring Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling, the story follows Barbie and Ken on a incredible journey of self discovery from Barbieland to the real world and back, following an existential crisis.

If you have seen the film – and if you haven’t (you can watch it right now in the Fetch Movie Store) – then chances are you might be seeking out some similarly visually striking titles to give your life a further injection of colour. Below are an eclectic mix of titles that experiment with colour to enhance their story, feature interesting colour palettes, and are uniquely and beautifully photographed.

Note that this list largely contains non family-friendly titles. This is only my interpretation of Barbie but if my 6-year-old Barbie-obsessed daughter didn’t vibe with this movie there is somewhat of a missed opportunity here. This list is designed to appeal to adult fans of Barbie in search of something a little more edgy.


The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)

The Grand Budapest Hotel is perhaps the perfect representation of Wes Anderson‘s trademark visual style, his finest (to date) convergence of narrative and experimentation of form. The typically star-studded production, led by a delightfully dapper Ralph Fiennes, is a marvel of composition and framing, and a film that offers something new to appreciate with each viewing.

Buy now in the Fetch Movie Store.

Amélie (2001)

A huge International hit, and one of the more heartwarming and influentially whimsical comedies of the early 20th Century, Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s still-lovely Amelie remains a joyous romanticism of French culture. Photographed by Bruno Delbonnel (the breathtaking Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince and Inside Llewyn Davis are among his other films), Amelie features a distinctive colour palette of predominantly red, yellow and green. These dominant colours are often used to emphasize the emotional state of the film’s central character, Amélie Poulain (Audrey Tautou).

Buy or rent now in the Fetch Movie Store.

Speed Racer (2008)

Divisive at the time of release, the Wachowski siblings’ Speed Racer is an eye-popping visual feast that has developed a cult following and, in my opinion, has only appreciated with age. A thrilling showcase of pure vision and style, this whirlwind experience is the perfect implementation of the bright colours used in ’60s cartoons, with the popular source anime series Speed Racer (1967-68) amongst them.

Stream now on Stan.

Moulin Rouge (2001)

Baz Lurhman has recently received accolades for his Elvis biopic, and lavish adaptation of The Great Gatsby, but it his extravagant 2001 Academy Award-winning musical, Moulin Rouge that still reigns supreme from his resume of theatrical indulgence. The film, which stars Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor, is the epitome of a kaleidoscope of colour, with the frame bursting with activity, but the way that bold colours are used to evoke a particular mood is also striking.

Buy now in the Fetch Movie Store.

Black Narcissus (1947)

Powell and Pressburger’s technicolour masterpiece, Black Narcissus, defies expectations, staging a gripping story about a convent of Anglican nuns who are stationed in the Himalayas to establish a school and a hospital. The film’s provocative drama details the psychological and sexually-charged challenges the nuns face on their mission and uses gorgeous matte painting backdrops to stunning effect.

Buy or rent now on iTunes.

Drive (2011)

While Nicolas Winding Refn’s Only God Forgives and Neon Demon are perhaps more memorable for their drenching of colour, his adrenaline-fueled crime drama, Drive (which stars a very stoic Ryan Gosling), is the more complete fusion of stylistic coolness with evocative performances and full-blooded narrative impact.

Buy or rent now in the Fetch Movie Store.

Spring Breakers (2013)

After robbing a diner (in an extraordinary single take) to fund their Florida Spring-break trip, four college students (Selena Gomez, Vanessa Hudgens, Ashleigh Benson and Rachel Korine) find themselves under the influence of a drug dealer named Alien (an iconic James Franco performance) and seduced by his life of crime. Sporting day-glo bikinis through much of the film, the women find themselves infatuated by the lure of debauchery in this dangerous, neon-illuminated, upside-down version of Barbieland.

Stream now on Stan.

Three Colours Trilogy – Blue/White/Red (1993-94)

Krzysztof Kieslowski’s career is one of the most celebrated of all directors, but his Three Colours Trilogy – representing the colours of the flag of France – are his most internationally renowned films. Headlined by the incomparable Juliette Binoche, Julie Delpy and Irene Jacob these three captivating dramas all make stunning use of their titular colour. While Blue is perhaps the most artistically impressive creation, Red has always been my personal favourite – a stirring and beautifully performed portrait of the unusual ways lives can intersect.

Stream all three movies now on SBS On Demand

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