HomeMovies‘Barbie’ Got a Surprising Rating From the MPA

‘Barbie’ Got a Surprising Rating From the MPA

One might assume, given Barbie dolls’ target audience, that the first big-screen, live-action Barbie movie would also be aimed squarely at that same audience of younger kids. But at least according to the Motion Picture Association, this is a movie that parents may want to exercise caution around.

Surprisingly, the Barbie movie is not rated G or PG. According to the official film ratings page of the MPA website, it is actually rated PG-13 for “suggestive references and brief language.”

A PG-13 typically indicates that some elements of a film may be inappropriate for children under 13. In the MPA’s official documents about each rating they say the PG-13 is a “sterner warning by Ratings Board to parents determine whether their children under age 13 should view the motion picture, as some material might not be suited for them” and notes “a PG-13 motion picture may go beyond the PG rating in theme, violence, nudity, sensuality, language, adult activities or other elements, but does not reach the restricted R category.”

READ MORE: 10 Movies You Never Knew Were Rated R

In the U.K., England’s equivalent of our MPA ratings board, the BBFC, has given Barbie a “12A” rating. That’s essentially their version of a PG-13; it’s above their U (or “universal”) and PG ratings, although it’s even more stringent than our PG-13; 12A means it’s not suitable for kids under 12 — and anyone below that age who wants to see it has to be accompanied by an adult. (In the U.S., anyone can still see a PG-13 with or without a guardian; it’s a warning, not a restriction.) The BBFC said the 12A rating was given to Barbie because of “moderate innuendo, brief sexual harassment, implied strong language.”

The trailer for Barbie, directed by Greta Gerwig, does suggest it’s a somewhat subversive look at the classic children’s toy, with Margot Robbie’s Barbie finding something lacking in her perfect plastic world and the venturing out into the “real world” when faced with an existential crisis. There, she will supposedly discover “the truth about the universe.” We’re gonna guess the truth about the universe contains stuff that exceeds the boundaries of the PG rating.

Barbie opens in theaters on July 21.

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