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Is 'Barbie' a kid's movie? Understanding the movie's PG-13 rating

Is “Barbie,” whose namesake is a favorite toy amongst young children, truly kid friendly? We watched to find out.
/ Source: TODAY

Warning: This post contains spoilers for "Barbie."

"Barbie" has been one of the most buzzed-about movies for over a year. The second photos leaked of stars Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling rollerblading across Venice Beach in neon outfits last summer, the world was obsessed.

But director Greta Gerwig wasn't quick to release details about the movie's plot. Even the film's official trailer reveals little about what actually goes down in theaters, according to the actors involved.

“You cannot even describe what this movie is. The trailers and sound bites allude to how much fun this movie is and how spectacular it is. But they don’t scratch the surface of how deep this movie goes, or all of the thematic elements of the film,” Simu Liu, who plays a Ken doll in the film, previously told

Which leads us to ask: Is "Barbie," whose namesake is a favorite toy among young children, truly kid friendly? The short version is, yes, for young teens.

Why is 'Barbie' rated PG-13?

"Barbie" earned a PG-13 rating from the Motion Picture Association for "suggestive references" and "brief language."

As for suggestive references, one of the film's teaser trailers shows a scene on the beach where Gosling's Ken says, “I would beach you off.” Liu’s Ken responds, “I’ll beach off with you any day,” which escalates until Robbie says, “Nobody’s gonna beach anyone off.”

There are other lines of dialogue with similar puns throughout the movie, like when Kate McKinnon's Weird Barbie character quips, “I’d like to see what smooth blob he’s packing in those shorts,” in reference to a Ken character.

Characters in the film say "b----" and "crap," at times, as well as once instance of "motherf---er," which is loudly bleeped.

'Barbie' is an exploration of major existential questions — in addition to dolls

The movie's description reads only: “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.”

And as seen in the movie's trailer, Robbie's Barbie isn't just living her best day ever over and over again. During a choreographed dance routine with all of the Barbies at her Barbie Dream House, Barbie exclaims with a smile, "Do you guys ever think about dying?"

Existential themes more familiar to adults begin to take place throughout the film, especially as Barbie has to deal with flat feet, cellulite and depressive thoughts. And once Barbie goes into the real world and is exposed to sexism and the patriarchy, it sometimes hits a bit too close to how women are treated in society.

As Ken returns to Barbie Land radicalized by the patriarchy, there are some scenes of mild violence — but nothing that would scare a young child.

Gerwig's feminist tale does end with a win for the Barbies after the Kens' exposure to patriarchy — which may come as a welcome message.