The movie event of the summer finally came last week on July 21st, 2023, with the opening of Christopher Nolan's Oppenheimer and Greta Gerwig's Barbie. Both films while varying wildly in subject matter were highly anticipated films. The two films had already taken over pop culture before their releases for many reasons such as promotional efforts, collaborations, and memes. The internet has dubbed the two together as Barbenheimer. I spent my Saturday morning seeing Oppenheimer and my Sunday night seeing Barbie. Despite the heavy contrast between the two films, I found both to be great movies.
Oppenheimer is Christopher Nolan's 12th film and it marks his sixth collaboration with lead actor Cillian Murphy, who worked with Nolan previously in Batman/Dark Knight Trilogy, Inception, and Dunkirk. The film, which is also based on the 2005 biography, American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer, follows the creation of the Manhattan Project, the first detonation of the bomb also known as Trinity, the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the following aftermath of the bombing and Oppenheimer's security trial. The film has been both critically and commercially acclaimed with it now earning 174.2 million against a budget of 100 million in its first weekend out. I was surprised by how much I ended up enjoying the movie and I enjoyed learning about a part of history that I had never really had an interest in.
Barbie is Greta Gerwig's third film. Barbie was written by Gerwig and her partner and fellow filmmaker, Noah Baumbach. Barbie is based on Mattel's Barbie dolls. The film follows Barbie or 'Stereotypical Barbie', played by Margot Robbie. After a series of strange events in Barbieland, she and Ken set off on a journey into the real world. In the real world, Barbie learns of the real effect that she has had on women and girls and comes to find that the real world isn't all that it is cracked up to be. Meanwhile, Ken learns about the patriarchy and brings his learnings back to Barbieland which wreaks havoc on the Barbie world, leaving it up to Barbie and her new human acquaintances, a mother-daughter duo, named Gloria and Sasha to help her fix and save Barbieland. Like its same-day release counterpart, the film has also been critically and commercially successful with it earning 337 million against a budget of 145 million in its first weekend out. I figured that I would enjoy the movie and I was right about that assumption. I found it to be a cute, quirky movie.
My final verdict is that if you're looking for a fun time, go see Barbie. If you are looking for something to think about after the fact, you should check out Oppenheimer. That or plan your own Barbenheimer double feature