Is the New “Barbie” Movie Appropriate For Kids? Here’s What Parents Should Know

Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

Barbie, the beloved childhood icon, has been given a live-action makeover in a new movie that’s unlike the Barbie stories of the past. Instead, the doll we grew up playing with as a kid comes to life in a brand-new cinematic adventure directed by Greta Gerwig, starring Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling as Barbie and Ken.

Barbie (the doll) is fit for all ages. But is the new “Barbie” movie appropriate for kids? Here’s what you should know about the “Barbie” movie plot and how the movie, which is in theaters nationwide today, July 21, is rated, so you can make an informed decision before you take the kids to the theater.

How Long Is the new “Barbie” Movie?

“Barbie” runs for 1 hour and 54 minutes, according to IMDB, or about 114 minutes. That alone is a sign that this movie isn’t geared toward little ones. Kids’ movies tend to be shorter, no more than 100 minutes, to accommodate their shorter attention spans.

What Is the “Barbie” Movie Rated?

The “Barbie” movie is related PG-13, which means (literally): “Parental Guidance: some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.” It’s meant to be a strong caution for parents to consider when deciding whether to let their kids see a movie. For “Barbie” specifically, the movie has been rated PG-13 due to “suggestive references” and “brief language.”

Is the “Barbie” Movie Appropriate For Kids?

One of the biggest differences between the new movie and earlier Barbie movies like “Barbie and the Secret Door,” “The Princess & the Popstar,” or “A Fashion Fairytale,” is that Greta Gerwig’s “Barbie” is not animated. These are real people.

And unlike live-action remakes of kids’ films like “The Little Mermaid,” which retain the animated original’s themes and sense of fantasy, “Barbie” depicts characters in real-world situations, dealing with real-world problems – the characters grapple with dating, aging, beauty standards, and harassment. The plot is centered around Barbie’s existential crisis, which is a pretty heavy topic in and of itself.

All this to say, the plot is more adult than Barbie movies of the past. It includes playful humor that might appeal to all audiences, but overall, this is a movie geared toward a more grown-up audience.

From the trailer alone, we see Barbie getting her butt slapped on the beach, punching a man in the face, and appearing to get arrested with Ken.

IMDB reports that the movie contains several sexual innuendos and references to the characters’ (lack of) genitals. “One scene shows Ken asking Barbie if he can stay over, as they’re ‘girlfriend and boyfriend.’ When Barbie asks, ‘to do what?’ Ken pauses before saying ‘I’m actually not sure,” Danny Brogan, executive editor at Common Sense Media, told Yahoo! Life.

It’s a line that may go over kids’ heads – but that also means that, at the end of the day, the movie may not be particularly funny or interesting to them.

There’s also some “silly” violence (but nothing overly frightening) and some mild risqué language, including a bleeped-out use of the f-word.

“I think Gerwig has included all this mature content knowing that a large portion of the audience will be millennials and members of Generation Z – people who grew up with Barbie during the ’80s, ’90s, and ’00s – looking for that nostalgia but also to be entertained,” Brogan told Yahoo! Life.

With that info in mind, the PG-13 rating seems accurate – this isn’t a movie for tweens and younger, and depending on your family, you may even want to delay having younger teens watch it.

Ultimately, you know your kid best. If you’ve checked out the plotline and read some reviews and are still not sure if now is the right time for your kid to see “Barbie,” stick to one of the animated stories instead. The live-action movie will always be there in a few months or a few years when the timing is right.

“Barbie” is in theaters nationwide starting July 21.

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