A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Barbarella is a 1968 French-Italian sci-fi cult flick (based on a French comic of the same name) featuring Jane Fonda, lots of nudity, sensuality, absurdity, and the generally wacky irreverence of 1960s cinema. Because of its mature themes, bare breasts, frequent sensuality, and direct discussions of intercourse, as well as a plot development that includes a woman being given a fatal orgasm, this is a movie best reserved for very mature teens or adults.
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What's the story?
Is it any good?
BARBARELLA is worth a watch for fans of cult flicks, old sci-fi, and the just plain weird. Although the set design, costumes, and swingin'-'60s aesthetic age well and fascinate, the plot itself and its attitude toward women and free-spirited sexuality -- with the protagonist being a sexy, up-for-sex glamazon on a mission involving a lot of weird, bizarre sexual situations, including being bitten and bloodied a lot -- feels excessively retrograde and punitive. Plus, don't be fooled by the PG rating -- there are bare breasts and lounging, beckoning, half-naked women at nearly every turn.
That said, it's not for kids. Although parents and their very mature teens may enjoy this cultural romp as artifact, the jokes, references, and frank discussions of futuristic sex (which, bewilderingly, is always assumed to require medication and machines) simply won't make sense to younger kids. Possibly, it won't make sense to anyone.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the film's attitude toward women. What social and cultural changes for women are you aware of from the 1960s that might explain some of the film's bleaker set pieces? How does it compare to women in films today?
How does the violence of the film compare to violence in films today? Does it seem tamer? Weirder? How so?
Does the film's sense of humor ring funny to you? What kind of statement do you think the movie is making about science fiction as a genre or about the future of Earth viewed from the 1960s?
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