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Is the BARBIE Movie Appropriate for Kids? A Guide for Grown-Ups

Barbie dolls are meant to be playthings for kids. But is this the case for director Greta Gerwig’s new movie? Is her Barbie movie about the iconic toy appropriate for kids, and what is its rating? It’s hard to tell from the film’s trailers. The vibrant promos feature extravagant, colorful costumes, settings, and Malibu Beach DreamHouses. The Barbie movie looks like a child’s dream come to life. But the movie’s promos are also full of existential angst and talk about death. Is that something small children can handle or even understand? What about pre-teens? If you’re unsure if the Barbie movie is okay for your youngsters, here’s our guide to help you make the right decision for your family.

Spoiler Alert

Editor’s Note: This post contains very mild spoilers for Barbie to help parents, guardians, and caregivers decide if the film is age appropriate for their children.

Are Any Aspects of the Barbie Movie Appropriate for Kids?

Barbie Movie teaser trailer recreates 2001 A Space Odyssey from Kubrick. The Barbie movie deals with some deep themes which may not be meaningful to kids.
Warner Bros.

Barbie‘s costumes and sets are delightful for everyone at any age, including kids. They’re bright and beautiful, so even the youngest children will enjoy seeing them on screen. (Especially those with a fondness for neon pink.)

The Barbie movie also features many cheerful sequences that are appropriate for kids. They will appeal to children even if they don’t fully understand the meaning behind them. There are also touching scenes between family members and friends in the Barbie movie that any child who can appreciate a show like Bluey will find meaning in. The same goes for any kids who can comprehend positive themes about identity, feminism, relationships, and believing in yourself.

Mature Language and Adult Topics in the Barbie Movie

Barbie new trailer with Barbie and Ken in her car outside of Barbie Land.
Warner Bros.

Despite living in a world built by imagination and not knowing what sex is, Ken and Barbie know they don’t have human genitalia. A Barbie character makes direct reference to each of their missing private parts. However, it’s done in a humorous, matter-of-fact way rather than in a vulgar or explicit manner. There’s also a funny term used to describe the dolls’ missing lower extremities. Young children will definitely not understand the phrase used in the Barbie movie. Some will certainly ask to have it explained to them, though. However, there’s nothing resembling nudity, though.

There is one bleeped-out swear word, however. The swear word used in Barbie will be blatantly obvious to even pre-teens, who will likely know what was actually said, but not little kids.

The Barbie Movie’s Existential Dread and Adult Themes May Not Be Appropriate for Kids

Margot Robbie with long blonde hair in Barbie. Kids love to play with Barbies but the Barbie movie may not be for them.
Warner Bros.

Despite having main characters who are literal toys living in a seemingly Utopian magical fantasy land, the Barbie movie is an existential human story at its core. It’s about what it means to be a woman, what it means to be alive, and what makes us happy. The inciting event, as teased in the film’s trailers, is when Margot Robbie’s Stereotypical Barbie starts thinking about her own death. The film also explicitly deals with depression, the patriarchy, gender roles in society, and other deep, meaningful ideas directed at an older audience. These Barbie themes may not necessarily be inappropriate for kids, but they may be difficult for them to understand fully.

What Is the Barbie Movie’s Age Rating?

Margot Robbie's Barbie in a pink and white dress stands between Simu Liu and Ryan Gosling's Kens on the beach. Kids will like the Barbie movie's colorful outfits, but the movie has a PG-13 rating.
Warner Bros.

The Motion Picture Association of America set the Barbie movie rating at PG-13. This deems Barbie appropriate for kids aged 13 and above. “Parents are urged to be cautious” when bringing anyone younger than 13 years of age since “some material may be inappropriate for pre-teenagers.”

The MPA cites “suggestive references and brief language” as the reason for Barbie‘s PG-13 designation.

(Did you know Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and Gremlins are largely responsible for the creation of the PG-13 rating? That designation didn’t exist before 1984.)

Age Recommendations for the Barbie Movie When It Comes to Kids

Specific, hard, and fast age recommendations are especially difficult for PG-13 movies. But if you’re looking for general guidance for the Barbie movie, it is likely appropriate for most pre-teens but not a great choice for many younger viewers.

Mature 12-year-olds will likely appreciate the film both for its story and its themes, even if they don’t understand all of it. (In fairness, some adults won’t either. The film’s script and performances are much deeper than many will expect with a film based on a toy.)

Kens from Barbie Movie Teaser Trailer. The Kens bright costumes might appeal to kids but should they see the Barbie movie?
Warner Bros.

Children under the age of ten will almost certainly not understand most of what’s going on in the Barbie movie. As a result, some will feel lost and disengaged. They will also be confused about some of the language. (A helpful way to think about the more mature content is that if the child in your life has never had health class, Barbie might not be for them, even though talk of private body parts is limited to just a couple of moments.)

If you’re still unsure if your youngster is old enough to enjoy Barbie on any level, or that it deals with topics you deem inappropriate for their age, we recommend seeing it without your kids first.

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