Barbie: A Movie Review For Parents
Updated August 22, 2023
By now, you’ve probably heard about the Barbie movie that recently hit theaters. It had garnered tons of attention months before release, largely due to the “Barbenheimer” phenomenon leading up to it. But Barbie itself was already teed up to be a huge hit on its own. For one, it’s got a star-studded cast with Margot Robbie, Ryan Gosling, Will Ferrell, and much, much more. And of course, it’s got the nostalgia factor. If you grew up playing with Barbie dolls, this was an obvious must-see.
Here’s a quick recap before we jump into the review:
Barbie starts in the city of Barbieland. It’s a bright, colorful, and a relentlessly cheerful place. The important distinction about Barbieland, however, is that it’s completely run by women — they hold all positions of power, from the president to the supreme court.
Every day is a perfect day in Barbieland, until one day, Barbie starts feeling off. This leads Barbie and Ken on an adventure to the Real World, where they discover something that has never existed in Barbieland: patriarchy. For Ken, it’s a beautiful revelation. For Barbie, it’s a nightmare that she can’t wait to leave. When Ken brings his newfound philosophy to Barbieland, it’s up to Barbie to re-empower the other Barbies to remember who they are.
Now that you’re all caught up, let’s get into it!
Harmful Content ❗️
Barbie is accepted by most as a feminist-heavy movie attempting to highlight the plight of women in the real world. The movie does not shy away from real struggles that women deal with, such as facing inequality in the workplace, being constantly sexualized and objectified, and feeling pressured to be perfect all the time. While these are important topics to discuss, parents should be prepared for the social commentary that is consistently discussed throughout the movie.
There’s also frequent discussion around what being “perfect” means, including topics such as body image. In the movie, Barbie suddenly gets cellulite and reacts with shock and dread. Of course, it’s played to a comical effect. But this could be a great opportunity for parents to discuss with kids what healthy body standards should be.
The adult language is minimal throughout the movie, with some uses of “crap” and “shut up.” There is also one instance of a bleeped F-bomb.
The movie is chock-full of innuendos and double-entendres. The dialogue is quick and witty, so most of it will likely go over young kids’ heads. There’s a scene where Barbie talks about her and Ken’s lack of genitals. Barbie gets cat-called in Los Angeles by male construction workers. There’s also a quick comment about Ken’s “nude blob” under his pants.
Parents may also want to know that the doll characters are sometimes scantily clad. The Ken dolls are often shirtless and the Barbie dolls are in tight or revealing outfits.
The only scene of violence in the movie is during a big fight between all the Ken’s at the end of the movie. It’s as far away from violent or scary as a fight scene can get — the thrown punches are obviously fake and Ryan Gosling (who plays the main Ken) is singing throughout most of it.
Positive Value 💫
Barbie is undeniably funny and empowers women in an honest and touching way. It has a heartfelt message that tells women to embrace who they are, mistakes and all. No one should feel pressured to be perfect, they just need to know they’re enough.
Aside from the moving themes of the movie, it’s turned into a cultural phenomenon that will likely define the 2023 year. It became a trend to go watch the movie in theaters and wear your Barbie-best — which means any and all pink! This can be a fun and engaging experience for kids to take part in the Barbie movement.