Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer and Greta Gerwig’s Barbie share a lot of similarities. We aren’t just talking about the two movies arriving at the box office on the same weekend or both boasting a star-studded cast or even both absolutely shaking the theatrical scene with their earnings. No really, entertain us for a second.

Oppenheimer protagonist Cillian Murphy.
Oppenheimer protagonist Cillian Murphy.

Rather the most interesting similarity between the two is how the lead characters of both movies end up questioning their respective worlds as the storyline progresses.

Margot Robbie’s Barbie, who at the beginning lives in her own perfect world, Barbie Land, starts to question what it really means to be a woman. Cillian Murphy’s J Robert Oppenheimer, who oversaw the success of the Trinity Test in 1945, ends up questioning how the relentless pursuit of power will impact mankind. At its core, both movies explore the theme of existentialism. Although both present this idea very differently.

Read more: “I enjoyed that tremendously”: Christopher Nolan Watched Oppenheimer’s Rival Barbie Star Ryan Gosling’s $472M Movie 3 Times

How Oppenheimer Movie Fares in the Bechdel Test

Before we dive into how Christopher Nolan and Greta Gerwig brought forth their stories, first let’s understand what is the Bechdel test.

Emily Blunt and Cillian Murphy.
Emily Blunt and Cillian Murphy.

The said method is used to evaluate how a film or other work of fiction portrays women. To pass the test, a work must feature at least two women, these women must talk to each other, and their conversation must concern something other than a man.

As far as Barbie is concerned, it’s a female-centric movie led brilliantly by Margot Robbie, and needless to say, it passes the Bechdel test with flying colors.

Oppenheimer also features two important female characters Jean Tatlock (Florence Pugh) and Kitty Oppenheimer (Emily Blunt), but they don’t have a scene together where they talk about anything other than a man. In fact, their lives in the movie revolve around the central character: Cillian Murphy‘s Oppenheimer.


Read more: Cillian Murphy’s Oppenheimer Set to Break Christopher Nolan’s ‘Visual Spectacle’ Movie That Broke His Heart

How Christopher Nolan Shaped Oppenheimer Around Cillian Murphy

As mentioned already, it’s no surprise female characters don’t get the spotlight in Oppenheimer. 

Cillian Murphy in Oppenheimer.
Cillian Murphy in Oppenheimer.

However, the way the Inception director shaped his script, which is inspired from American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer, even other male characters get little importance in the epic biographical thriller, which has crossed $750 million in worldwide collection so far.

Nolan has from the very start insisted the likes of Robert Downey Jr. and Matt Damon are on the ride with Oppenheimer and their task is to shed light on the theoretical physicist through their characters Lewis Strauss and Gen. Leslie Groves respectively. The screenplay was written in the first person and with only one man at the helm: Murphy’s Oppenheimer.

The movie opens with the images of the young Oppenheimer in a close-up and ends with Oppenheimer’s face in a close-up staring at the droplets in the pond and pondering the consequences of his actions.

Read more: Cillian Murphy Felt “Overwhelmed” After Watching Oppenheimer For the First Time, Claimed It “Transfixed” His 15-Year-Old Son

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