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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Meant to entertain rather than educate.
Songs and conversations about working hard to achieve your goals and keeping a positive attitude. Characters learn competition isn't about winning at all cost, but about trying your best. Characters learn things aren't always what they seem and it's not best to assume. Lessons on honesty and being brave. A father lies to help his daughter get an edge in the competition.
Positive Role Models
Though faced with being out of place in her new program, Malibu Barbie keeps a positive attitude and doesn't give up. She and Brooklyn Barbie decide to help each other instead of working against each other even though they're competing for the same solo. They also help a side character who feels discouraged in his work and encourage him to keep trying.
Heavily female cast. One of the two main characters is a Black musician and dancer (also named Barbie Roberts). Dean of the school is a Black woman, and many of the side characters are of various racial and gender makeup. Mention of a mom being an airline pilot. Though there's a wide racial range of the cast, there's not much diversity in size and body type.
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Violence & Scariness
A father speaks unkindly to daughter.
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Products & Purchases
None on-screen but tie-ins to Mattel's Barbie movies and merchandise.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Barbie: Big City, Big Dreams is an animated musical tale in the Barbie movie franchise. In this story, Barbie Roberts from Malibu (voiced by America Young) travels to New York City for a summer performing arts program. There she meets Barbie Roberts from Brooklyn (Amber May), and the two become fast friends. The movie has clear, strong themes about working hard to achieve your goals and keeping a positive attitude, even when things get tough. Both Barbies learn that competition isn't about winning at all costs, but rather about trying your best. The cast is racially diverse, with strong female leads. But there's not much diversity in size and body type. Potentially upsetting moments include a father speaking unkindly to his daughter. He also lies to try to give his daughter an edge in the competition. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
The Barbie franchise continues to evolve and showcase Barbie surrounded by a diverse cast and positive messages with talented girls and women. This movie takes it a step further by introducing not just another friend of Barbie, but an equally talented teen known as Barbie Roberts herself. But this Barbie is from Brooklyn, has dark skin, wears her hair in braids, and even wraps her hair at night. It's refreshing to see two heroines immediately hit it off and decide to help one another instead of seeing each other as rivals. Themes about friendship over competition are simple enough for the youngest viewers to understand. They may also enjoy the various elements of a performing arts school, with classes from band to dance and even fencing. The R&B and pop songs in Barbie: Big City, Big Dreams are catchy. This and the easy-to-follow plot makes it a cute story that should entertain its intended audience.
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.