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Should You See BARBIE? Read This First

Photo via EPK

Should You See BARBIE? Read This First

By Movieguide® Staff

BARBIE is a comical, satirical fantasy starring Margo Robbie, who plays a blonde Barbie living in Barbie Land who travels with Ken to “the Real World” to find the little girl who’s been playing with her too hard and disrupting her life by causing feelings of depression and anxieties about death. BARBIE has some humorous, clever fun with the concept of Barbie, but the movie is flat in places and preachy in other places, is rated PG-13 for suggestive language, and has a strong Romantic worldview with tired feminist attacks on the “patriarchy” and even an implied attack on motherhood in one scene, but it gives a sop to conservatives at the end when a mother character admits it’s okay if girls just want to be a mother. 

The movie opens with a parody of the opening sequence in 2001:  A SPACE ODYSSEY where an alien artifact appears, fascinates one of the wild apes nearby and the “evolved” ape eventually takes a large jawbone bone and starts smashing a wild pig with it. In the BARBIE scene, little girls appear in a similar Southwestern setting. All of them are playing with baby dolls. Suddenly, the original blonde Barbie, Margot Robbie in the original black and white striped one-piece swimsuit from 1959 appears. Mesmerized, the little girls start smashing their baby dolls to pieces as the music swells. 

Cut to Barbie Land. A blonde Barbie wakes up and begins her day. She happily takes a shower without water and drinks some nonexistent milk. She then floats down from the roof of her Dream House to start her day. A narrator explains that the Barbies in Barbie Land can move like that because the little girls playing with them just move them from place to place with their hands.  

At the beach, a blonde Ken tries to get Barbie’s attention. She acknowledges Ken, but she’s clearly not as interested in him as he is in her. Blonde Ken gets into a jealous rivalry with Asian Ken. They start challenging one another by saying, “I’ll beach you off.” Later, Blonde Ken asks Blonde Barbie, who calls herself “Stereotypical Barbie,” if he can visit her dream house. She says okay but informs him that she’s going to have a big party with a big dance number. 

At her party, the Barbies and Ken do a dancing number when Stereotypical Barbie suddenly stops and asks, “Has anybody ever thought about death?” Awkward silence follows her comment, but she recovers and acts like she was talking about something else. 

The next morning, Stereotypical Barbie wakes up depressed. She takes her shower, but the nonexistent water is cold. Also, at breakfast, the nonexistent milk tastes terrible. Then, when she tries to float off the roof, she stumbles and awkwardly floats down to the ground. Barbie goes to her Barbie friends, and they discover that Barbie’s feet are now flat instead of pointed downward. One of the Barbies suggests that she go to Weird Barbie. Maybe Weird Barbie can help.  

Weird Barbie turns out to be a blonde Barbie whose owner played with her “too hard.” As a result, crayon marks appear on her face, her hair’s been cut short, and sometimes her legs get stuck in a split. Weird Barbie says a rift has been created in Barbie Land because her owner has been playing with her too hard. She suggests that Stereotypical Barbie travel to the “Real World” and locate her owner in Los Angeles, who must be feeling bad for some reason. Maybe Stereotypical Barbie can lift her spirits and fix Barbie’s problem. 

Stereotypical Barbie sets out in her little pink car for the Real World. Though she told Ken he can’t come, she finds him hiding in the back seat. He’s brought his roller blades, however, so it’s okay. The trip to the Real World is not so simple, however. Barbie and Ken must also use snowmobiles, a boat, a rocket ship (with Ken hanging on the tail for dear life), and bicycles in Holland. 

In the Real World, Barbie and Ken split up. Ken becomes mesmerized by the power and strength that the men in the Real World display. Barbie herself is perplexed that the Real World doesn’t have any female construction workers. Finally, Barbie’s owner, Sasha, is now a young teenage girl who blames Barbie for the sexism in the world and accuses her of being a tool of “the patriarchy.” Sasha and her friends tell Barbie that they never play with Barbie dolls anymore. 

Hurt and confused, Barbie goes to Mattel headquarters, but the male CEO and all the executives, all of whom are also male, just want to put her back in a box. She runs away, but they chase her. 

 Barbie gets some unexpected help from a new friend. A new problem arises, however. Ken has returned to Barbie Land and led the other Kens into a rebellion to form a patriarchy.  

BARBIE has some humorous, clever fun with the concept of Barbie and all her toys and fashion items. Mattel’s version of Ken dolls also involves some funny ribbing. 

However, the filmmakers thought it fit to deliver a movie that’s rated PG-13. So, BARBIE contains some suggestive language, including a reference to two homosexual men admiring Ken’s handsome looks. Also, two angry Ken characters challenge one another to “beach you off.” 

In addition, BARBIE has an adult, political sensibility about relationships between men and women. Thus, it includes strong politically correct, feminist elements. As shown by our plot description, the movie’s feminist viewpoint attacks the “patriarchy,” a socialist myth that men have all or most of the power and women have little to no say in how things are run, even in modern times. The movie also attacks the idea that little girls should be taught to desire motherhood. Thus, it implicitly attacks the biblical system of the family established by God in Chapters One and Two of Genesis and confirmed by Jesus Christ, the Son of God, in Matthew 19:1-12. God made men and women to complement one another and establish dominion, as intimate partners. In BARBIE, however, Stereotypical Barbie doesn’t want to be with Ken, or any other Ken for that matter. In fact, at one point in the move, she advises Ken that, like her, he should not be dependent on any one person or any one thing but simply just be himself. This message is not only political, it’s also a Romantic (or humanist) and godless philosophical, psychological message that women and men should be independent, totally self-determining beings. 

 The movie’s Romantic, politically correct, feminist views are somewhat mitigated by two strong mother characters in the movie. First, the movie contains scenes with the creator of the Barbie toy, Ruth Handler, who created Barbie in the image of her beloved daughter, Barbara, whom Ruth often saw giving her dolls adult roles. Second, in another scene, after delivering a feminist speech about all the trials girls and women have to endure from men and society, another strong mother character says girls can grow up to be a career women with children, a career woman without any children or just be a mother. These scenes and lines of dialogue, however, play like an afterthought. 

That said, although BARBIE contains some abhorrent, objectionable content, MOVIEGUIDE® rates it as excessive and unacceptable, not totally evil. 

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4000+ Faith Based Articles and Movie Reviews – Will you Support Us?

Our small team works tirelessly to provide resources to protect families from harmful media, reviewing 415 movies/shows and writing 3,626 uplifting articles this year. We believe that the gospel can transform entertainment. That’s why we emphasize positive and faith-filled articles and entertainment news, and release hundreds of Christian movie reviews to the public, for free. No paywalls, just trusted, biblically sound content to bless you and your family. Online, Movieguide is the closest thing to a biblical entertainment expert at your fingertips. As a reader-funded operation, we welcome any and all contributions – so if you can, please give something. It won’t take more than 52 seconds (we timed it for you). Thank you.

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