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Recommended age 8-18
114 minutes
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What a film! I was ecstatic about seeing Barbie and it definitely exceeded my expectations by far. As much as I was excited, I was a bit scared that the stakes were too high; after all Barbie is an icon and a part of so many people's childhood. For a film like this it's very easy to create something corny, disappointing, or unappealing to viewers. I'm so glad that Gretta Gerwig stepped up to the plate and created an absolute masterpiece.

The film starts with showing the origin of Barbie in 1959. It explains how little girls used to play with baby dolls and commonly acted as their mothers, but wanted a doll that they could really play with instead of taking care of. And that's how Barbie came about. Then we see the beautiful Barbie world where every Barbie is a part of something. We see Barbie doctors, Barbie novelists, Barbie astronauts, Barbie everything! And in Barbie's world every day is perfect. The star of the show Margot Robbie plays "Stereotypical Barbie" and she starts to notice strange things happening to her. She has to visit the real world to see who was playing with her to discover why these strange things are happening. The rest of the film is about Barbie trying to find herself and discovering scary aspects of the real world that she was blinded by before.

There was so much love put into this film and you can really see that on screen. The comedy in this film is so on point that the whole theater was laughing when I went to see this film. Huge kudos to Greta Gerwig and Noah Baumbach, writers of this incredible screenplay. The script is pure genius; I love how the film really honors Barbie and what she was made for. The cast of this film is exceptional. Margot Robbie was originally producing the film until she was cast as Barbie. Margot is the perfect Barbie; she plays this role so well she is like a real-life Barbie on screen. The way she embodies Barbie is just so perfect. I was really excited to see Ryan Gosling as Ken since he's one of my favorite actors. There's a lot of controversy as to why Ryan Gosling was cast as Ken but he makes perfect sense. He plays Ken so well he really nails what it means to be Ken in this film. America Ferrera plays a Mom named Gloria and she is such an interesting character. She plays a mom who's going through struggles of just being a woman and I'm sure her character will speak to so many mothers. It would be a crime to not talk about the insane set. Funny enough, Greta Gerwig used so much pink paint for this set that it actually drained an entire company's supply. The Barbie world is exactly as you'd expect it -- from Barbie dream-houses to Barbie beaches -- everything looks like it came right out of a toy store. Rodrigo Prieto shot this film and the cinematography is extraordinary. As someone who grew up with Barbie, this film really speaks to me. I am in love with the score of this film. Billie Eilish's "What was I made for" is one of the most beautiful songs I've heard. This film is packed with so many great artists like Tame Impalla, Lizzo, Dua Lipa and many others.

The film is packed with so many messages. I was surprised with how many topics this film covers -- what it means to be a woman, what it means to be a mother, what it's like to grow up in today's society, what is love, and so much more. This film is a celebration of women and girlhood but I also love how it represents men. Ken is discovering how men are viewed in today's society in a similar way to how Barbie is discovering who she is.

I give Barbie 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18, plus adults. Don't miss Barbie in theaters July 21, 2023.

By Zoe C, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic age 14

I love Barbie, the movie, and how it takes the magic of a childhood doll and brings it to life. It's a very powerful and moving production, and yet also has bursts of comedy. This film has an interesting and clever concept that I really enjoy.

Barbie revolves around the life of a stereotypical Barbie doll (Margot Robbie) living in Barbie Land. Everything seems to be perfect, until she starts to get human thoughts as well as features. To get everything back to normal, Barbie and Ken (Ryan Gosling) adventure to the real world to speak with Barbie's owner.

The main characters are Barbie and Ken. And there are many "Barbies," including those played by Emma Mackey, Hari Nerf, Nicola Coughlan, Alexandra Shipp and some "Kens," such as Kingsley Ben-Adir, Simu Liu, and John Cena. Other characters are Sasha (Ariana Greenblatt), Gloria (America Ferrera), and Mattel CEO (Will Ferrell). These actors were absolutely convincing and exciting at portraying their characters and the relationship between them. Everyone in Barbie Land has some sort of connection, and I admire that. The characters' costumes are vibrant, funky, and of course, some are pink! Every additional detail enhances the plot and makes me feel like I am in Barbie Land with the other characters. From Barbie's plastic breakfast to her massive wardrobe, each part of this film is touched by Barbie's magic. The subtle differences between Barbie Land and the real world add up, though, and it's drastic enough to show that we don't live in fantasy. That opens Barbie's eyes and makes her see the beauty of our planet. It's a positive reminder that life is beautiful. My favorite part of the film is the music. Well-known artists like Dua Lipa, Billie Eilish, Nicki Minaj and Ice Spice composed songs to fit the plot as well as Barbie's upbeat energy. Billie Eilish's song gave me chills and fits the storyline perfectly! The way the film is directed keeps me engaged and entertained throughout the entire thing. I applaud the director, Greta Gerwig, as well as the whole crew that made this film incredible. Next, while Barbie connected with her owner, I had a rush of nostalgia. Barbie's owner used to play with her a lot because she gave her a sense of empowerment and motivation, but our current society made her feel like she doesn't belong anywhere. I think many people can relate to this, as it's a reconnection with a past self. I like that it shows how much meaning a doll can have, and how Barbie has changed so many lives.

The message of this film is to never give up, but to always persevere. Barbie learns this as she's about to give up. There are conversations regarding inappropriate body parts, so that's something to look out for.

I give Barbie 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. Barbie releases exclusively in theaters July 21, 2023.

By Sydney S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13

Barbie is a sassy, funny movie with remarkable acting, gorgeous sets and costumes, and the ultimate summer soundtrack! I really enjoyed watching my favorite toys come to life in a world of pink and beaches, and the movie has some meaningful messages to deliver.

The film starts in glamorous Barbieland, where gender roles are reversed--all women are high-powered career Barbies who run the society, but men are just...Ken. They only exist for their Barbies. Stereotypical Barbie (Margot Robbie) has a perfect life--she parties every night and never has a bad hair day. But when things start to go wrong for Barbie, she and Ken (Ryan Gosling) must make the journey to the human world and find her owner, reconnecting a mother (America Ferrera) and her daughter Sasha (Ariana Greenblatt) and discovering their own purposes along the way.

The first thing I noticed in the movie was the whimsical, impeccably-designed set. Barbie's dreamhouse is flawlessly recreated--and everything is pink! The roads are paved with pink bricks, and the beach has pink sand. There is a recreation of Mount Rushmore with the faces of four Barbies--and it's pink! There are also some cute animated effects, such as a puff of pink dust. Margot Robbie is a perfect Barbie--with perfect outfits! She knows when to be shallow and superficial (without it looking like bad acting!) and when to go deeper. Throughout the movie, Barbie's experiences in the real world transform her from a plastic doll to a human being, and Margot Robbie captures that perfectly. Barbie's soundtrack is perfect for it, featuring songs such as "Dance the Night" by Dua Lipa, which captures how fun, free, and glitzy Barbie is. "Just Ken," sung by Ryan Gosling, brings some attention to the ignored Kens, putting them in the spotlight. Another thing I love about this movie is the amount of people it can reach--younger kids will immerse themselves in Barbieland and enjoy the toy aspect of the movie. Adults will appreciate the film's messages about feminism, motherhood, stereotypes, and just being human and making mistakes. And everyone will feel recognized, regardless of their gender or ethnicity.

Barbie has a few messages--it puts a playful spin on gender stereotypes, calling attention to the unfairness girls and women face in today's world. The Barbies using themselves to try to turn the Kens against each other so they can regain power represents the way women are pitted against each other because of outdated beauty standards. The movie also reminds us that we are all human, and we don't always get it right. But that's the beauty of life, because imperfection leads to change--new ideas and things we never knew we could have. Note that the film contains comical violence and mild language and suggestive material.

I give Barbie 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 18, plus adults. It will be released in theaters on July 21, 2023.

By Ella S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14

see youth comments
Barbie suffers a crisis that leads her to question her world and her existence. Barbie and Ken are having the time of their lives in the colorful and seemingly perfect world of Barbie Land. However, when they get a chance to go to the real world, they soon discover the joys and perils of living among humans.
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