Ever since news of the Barbie movie came out, it has been the most talked-about movie of the year. And since Barbie is a children’s favorite, parents can’t wait to take their little ones to the theater. Which brings us to the question: is the Barbie movie for kids?
Given that the Barbie movie has a PG 13 rating, children under the age of 13 should watch it with an adult. But this is only because of a few minor references, and the movie seems to be a fun and lighthearted watch apart from this.
Read below for more information on the Barbie movie and whether it’s for kids. (WARNING: Spoilers Ahead!)
Is Barbie a Political Movie?
Let’s get one thing straight: The Barbie movie is quite political. In addition to its focus on dolls, “Barbie” also investigates themes pertaining to fundamental existential concerns, sexism against women, and the realities of our modern world.
The description for the film simply states, “To live in Barbie Land is to be a perfect being in a perfect place. Unless you have a full-on existential crisis. Or you’re a Ken.”
The movie reveals that Robbie’s Barbie does more than merely relive her happiest day ever, over and over again. During a dance performance that she had prepared for all of the Barbies in her Barbie Dream House, Barbie asked them all with a smile, “Do you guys ever think about dying?”
As the film progresses and Barbie faces adult-relevant problems like flat feet, cellulite, and depression, the film’s themes shift to reflect those more familiar to adults. Barbie’s experiences with sexism and the patriarchy in the real world can be a little too realistic for some viewers.
The film highlights the difference between the female-centric Barbie fantasy sphere and the true nature of our current social landscape when Robbie’s Barbie and Gosling’s Ken venture out of Barbie land and into the real world, where the real-life Mattel business waits for them. When Ken is exposed to American patriarchal ideals, he gets radicalized, while Barbie is objectified and degraded to the point where she slaps a man for groping her butt.
Gerwig’s feminist story does have a happy ending, with the Barbies triumphing over the Kens once the Kens are exposed to patriarchy.
Is the Barbie Movie for Kids?
Before you decide to take your kids out to the theater, there are some things you must know about the Barbie movie.
It Contains Sexual References
For decades, Barbie and Ken have embodied the concept of “couple goals.” In fact, many children have attended hundreds of weddings for the well-known couple in their very own playroom.
Both Barbie and Ken are lacking their private parts, which undoubtedly accounts for a great deal of the purity of their relationship. This fact has been highlighted in the movie, although in a rather light-hearted, humorous way. There is nothing suggestive of nudity or that may be considered explicit or vulgar. The movie does mention the terms “vagina” and “penis” at one point.
There was also that scene where Ken invites Barbie to spend the night; he makes the remark, but he has no idea what it means. There are multiple attempts by Ken to kiss Barbie. You might also understand some double entendres, catcalls, and pick-up lines that your kids wouldn’t. There are many shirtless situations involving the Kens.
There is Adult Language and Mature Themes
Director Greta Gerwig has already produced works like Ladybird and Little Women, all of which feature strong female leads and deal with coming-of-age themes, so it should come as no surprise that she is the mastermind behind the Barbie movie.
Gerwig’s Barbie is concerned with issues of sexism and feminism, the nature of femininity, the pursuit of happiness and satisfaction, and even death, as the character has an existential crisis.
While there are instances of “strong” language, the one word that would truly demand “earmuffs” has been bleeped. There are no other swear words. Some scenes feature the characters drinking beer.
Although these are handled with tact and comedy, they are intended for an older demographic that is tuning in for the nostalgic value.
Expect Some Light Violence
We’re talking about really light violence here; there’s nothing to really worry about. The Kens engage in a fight that is, at best, silly; most children have seen worse in Disney movies. Their most lethal weapons are inflated pool toys, and they show their aggression in a dance-off.
There is also a scene involving a car chase, but like the previous one, it does not involve anything that should really be cause for concern.
So, Why is the Barbie Movie PG 13?
The Barbie movie has a PG-13 rating from the Motion Picture Association of America, which means that anyone younger than 13 years old should watch it with an adult. Barbie has been given a PG-13 rating rather than a more child-friendly PG because it includes “suggestive references and brief language.”
Greta Gerwig’s film features some adult-oriented comedy, such as when Ryan Gosling and Simu Liu’s Kens have a heated debate about who should beach the other. This is only one example of the sexually suggestive humor that may be too mature for young viewers watching the Barbie film. Kate McKinnon’s Weird Barbie provides similarly sexually suggestive, quirky humor. She comments on a Ken character, “I’d like to see what smooth blob he’s packing in those shorts.”
Thus, the PG-13 rating simply cautions parents that the movie could have some inappropriate material.
The film explores mature and complex topics that may be of interest to both young people and adults but may bore children. It talks about things like sexism, women being objectified, and the struggle to find one’s own identity and accept oneself.
The decision to market Barbie to an audience that is above the age of 13 signifies a change in direction for the franchise and hints at a more in-depth examination of topics that are relevant to a wider audience. This new direction may be thrilling for individuals seeking a more sophisticated and thought-provoking movie experience, but it may turn away younger audiences.
We believe that the movie is appropriate for kids, although it might bore them. If your kids are younger and you’re still debating whether or not to let them watch the movie, consider our discussion on the film’s content above. After all, mom and dad know what’s best.