Is Barbie suitable for kids?

The Barbie movie has a 12A rating

Margot Robbie in Barbie. (Warner Bros.)
Margot Robbie in Barbie. (Warner Bros.)

Mattel's iconic toy is coming to life in Greta Gerwig's Barbie, which is in cinemas now.

Starring Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling as Barbie and Ken, or one of the pairs anyway, the film follows the titular doll as she finds herself changing and that her perfect life is no longer what it used to be.

In order to restore order, Barbie heads into the real world to find the person playing with her doll and making her have an existential crisis.

Read more: Barbie review: Greta Gerwig proves that life in plastic really is fantastic

Despite being inspired by a kids toy, the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) has given the film a 12A rating which may make some parents wonder whether they should bring their kids to watch it.

Here is everything that you need to know.

Is Barbie suitable for kids? Its 12A rating explained

The BBFC gave the film a 12A rating because it features moderate innuendo, brief sexual harassment, and implied strong language.

A 12A rating means that the film is only suitable for those aged 12 and over, and anyone under the age of 12 must be accompanied by an adult to watch the film. It is up to the child's parent or guardian to decide if the film is suitable and if they wish to take them to see the movie.

Emma Mackey, Simu Liu, Margot Robbie, Ryan Gosling and Kingsley Ben-Adir in Barbie. (Warner Bros.)
Emma Mackey, Simu Liu, Margot Robbie, Ryan Gosling and Kingsley Ben-Adir in Barbie. (Warner Bros.)

In the film, there are several jokes which can be understood as moderate innuendo such as Gosling and Simu Liu's Kens arguing and making reference to "beaching off" one another, and younger children are unlikely to pick up on the implied innuendo.

While in another instance there is a brief reference to sugar daddies when speaking about the discontinued Sugar Daddy Ken doll, who is played by Rob Brydon in the film.

Read more: Who is Barbie creator Ruth Handler?

Talking about the film's 12A rating, a BBFC spokesperson told Yahoo: "Our Classification Guidelines on sex at PG say: 'Sexual activity may be implied, but should be discreet and infrequent. Mild sex references and innuendo only.'

"Barbie features moderate innuendo and sex references (such as the 'beach off' masturbation reference), which exceed our guidelines at PG. However, there are no references to sexual activities that would extend beyond the maturity of teenagers, and therefore the film is suitable for audiences of 12 and over."

Ryan Gosling and Margot Robbie in Barbie. (Warner Bros.)
Ryan Gosling and Margot Robbie in Barbie. (Warner Bros.)

The brief sexual harassment that the BBFC refers to takes place when Barbie and Ken first arrive in the real world, and Barbie is cat-called and receives inappropriate comments from a group of men about her looks. She is also slapped on the rear by one man, who is immediately called out for his behaviour.

"These actions are immediately challenged to provide a clear educational message that such behaviour is condemned," the BBFC explains. "This is further mitigated by the comical slapstick context, which helps to reduce the impact of these scenes and ensure that the film is suitable for 12A audiences."

In terms of implied strong language, there is one moment in the film where a swear word is bleeped out and there are other moderate curses like "damn", "God" and "crap" used by various characters.

"There is use of bleeped strong language ('mother****er') in Barbie which is not permissible at PG, but sits comfortably and is containable within the framework of our Guidelines at 12A," says the BBFC.

Depending on how a parent feels about these issues will impact whether they feel it is appropriate to bring their kids to see Barbie.

Barbie is available to watch in UK cinemas now.

Watch the trailer for Barbie: