A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
The movie features singing and an interest in science, which could inspire those interests in young viewers, and draws attention to class inequality.
Barbie as the Princess and the Pauper offers positive messages about loving people just as they are, the insignificance of material things or wealth, the power of friendship, and the importance of following one's dreams.
Positive Role Models
The characters in Barbie as the Princess and the Pauper are largely positive, but fairly one-dimensional: the kind princess, the dreamer, the concerned mother, the evil henchman. Most of the characters in Barbie's world strive to be good people who do the right thing.
Violence & Scariness
There is very mild violence and some suspenseful stretches. In one scene, Princess Anneliese is kidnapped and locked up. In a later scene, she and friend Julian are trapped in a mine shaft with rising water that threatens to drown them. There's some slapstick used elsewhere -- a character is bonked on the head, another is tripped on purpose.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
No innuendo, but the plot is largely driven by the fact that the princess is destined to be married to someone she does not love, and the growing romance between the pauper and the king.
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Products & Purchases
Other Barbie movies are advertised prior to the feature.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Barbie as the Princess and the Pauper involves some kidnapping, and for a spell, a mother's belief that her daughter is dead. It also takes the familiar fable and gives it a significantly more fairy tale-like ending with this romance-driven plot, though it does throw in a few modern updates. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Barbie movies seem stuck in a limited approach to girl entertainment, often drawing on extremely traditional models and trying to update them; they almost succeed here. Princess Anneliese and Erika are both interested in things outside of their roles as princesses or servants (science and singing), and the film makes a point to show them making room for those interests, and even putting them first over romance, for a moment. But the big finish still centers around them pairing off, fairy-tale style.
Kids will enjoy the castle stand-in for the Barbie dreamhouse, the funny cat who barks, and the suspense of the swapped identities. The animation quality is expected for 2004, and much improved from previous Barbie films. Parents may appreciate attention drawn to class inequality, and the precious few scenes focusing on girls liking science, books, and less passive pursuits.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.