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Ellie Hutchings

Barbie movie age rating: Is the Barbie movie for kids?

Left to right: America Ferrera, Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling at the Barbie premiere

Following the film's star-studded London premiere, parents are asking about the Barbie movie age rating, and if it's for kids.

It's the movie we've all been waiting for, and now we're just days away from the Barbie movie release date. It's now over 60 years since the first Barbie was made, yet this is the first live-action movie starring the character. Starring Margot Robbie as the iconic Mattel doll, the film follows Barbie on her journey out into the real world with Ken, who's played by Ryan Gosling.

Barbie has earned its place as one of the best toys out there, with the most popular Barbies contributing to the 100 Barbie dolls sold every minute worldwide. And with the toy's core demographic being children of nursery or primary school age, parents are wondering if the Barbie movie is for kids and what the age rating guidance is. We've found out everything you need to know...

Barbie movie age rating

In the UK, Barbie has received a 12A age rating from the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC), with the classification citing "moderate innuendo, brief sexual harassment, [and] implied strong language" as the reasons for the rating.

This means that the movie is not deemed to be suitable for children under 12, and no one younger than 12 may see a 12A film in a cinema unless accompanied by an adult. The official definition of 12A films adds, "Adults planning to take a child under 12 to view a 12A film should consider whether the film is suitable for that child."

Meanwhile, in the US the Barbie movie has been given an age rating of PG-13. This means that parents are "strongly cautioned", because "some material may be inappropriate for children under 13." That doesn’t mean that kids younger than 13 can’t see the movie - this is up to their parent or guardian to decide.

Barbie movie: Full BBFC guidance

  • Violence: Comic fight scenes include undetailed punches, kicks, headbutts and use of improvised weapons.
  • Threat and horror: Infrequent scenes of mild threat include a car chase. This occurs within a comic context.
  • Language: There is a use of bleeped strong language ('motherf**ker'), as well as moderate bad language ('b*tch') and milder terms such as 'crap', 'God', 'hell', and 'damn'.
  • Sex: Moderate innuendo includes occasional gags about 'beaching off' and 'sugar daddies'.
  • Sexual violence and sexual threat: There is a scene of sexual harassment in which men catcall a woman and make inappropriate comments about her appearance. A man slaps a woman's bottom, however, his behaviour is immediately challenged and results in negative consequences.
  • Dangerous behaviour: A child melts a doll's hair using a lighter.
  • Theme: There are occasional verbal references to death and mental health. Occasional references are made to patriarchal attitudes about women’s roles in society. These attitudes are clearly condemned and satirised.

Is the Barbie movie for kids?

The Barbie movie is not aimed at children, although it has been deemed appropriate for children aged 12 and above, making it suitable for teenagers.

While the age rating may seem surprising for a film that's based on a child's toy, Greta Gerwig's latest work sees Barbie experience something of an existential crisis as she leaves Barbieland and enters the real world, with strong themes around gender roles present throughout the film.

Meanwhile, cast member Will Ferrell revealed in an interview with The Wall Street Journal that the movie will serve as a pointed satire on male patriarchy and the role that Barbie plays in society, especially regarding social and beauty standards for women

Trailers for Barbie have already teased some "suggestive references" in the film, for example in a scene where two Kens get into an argument about 'beaching' each other off.

This is not to say that younger children would not be entertained by humour, musical sequences and fantastic pink outfits in the Barbie movie, but it's up to their parents to decide whether the themes are too mature.

Barbie movie trailer

How to watch the new Barbie movie

The Barbie movie will be released in cinemas in the UK on Friday 21 July. You can book tickets via Cineworld, ODEON, Vue, Showcase Cinemas and most other UK cinema websites.

It's likely that later down the line Barbie will be available to stream on HBO Max, as Warner Bros. - the company distributing the Barbie movie - also owns HBO Max. For UK viewers, HBO isn't available. However, you can get access to the streaming platform by installing a VPN (our pick is ExpressVPN). 

If you're looking for the best TV picks to watch with kids, check out our list of family-friendly Disney+ shows, the best kids movies on Disney+ and the best kids movies on Netflix.

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