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Best Picture Binge - Oppenheimer

The world forever changes.

Oppenheimer is a 2023 epic biographical drama film directed by Christopher Nolan, written by Christopher Nolan, produced by Syncopy Inc. and Atlas Entertainment, and distributed by Universal Pictures. The film is based off of Kai Bird and Martin J. Sherwin's 2005 biography, American Prometheus, which, in turn, is based on the life and times of J. Robert Oppenheimer. The film stars Cillian Murphy and Robert Downey Jr.. It was nominated for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best Original Score, Best Sound, Best Production Design, Best Cinematography, Best Makeup and Hairstyling, Best Costume Design, and Best Film Editing.

"And now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds." - J. Robert Oppenheimer


In the midst of World War II, genius physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer is hired to oversee the Manhattan Project, a top-secret government program sanctioning the development of the atomic bomb.

The Sweet

I have already reviewed Oppenheimer because I did see it when it came out, so you can read that review if you would like. It's longer, because for this Best Picture review series, I'm doing shorter reviews. However, my opinion on Oppenheimer has changed after I recently rewatched it.

When I first saw Oppenheimer, I was stunned by the spectacle and Christopher Nolan's ability to push the medium of filmmaking forward. However, I was unable to follow much of the plot. I thought the non-linear storytelling was confusing and it felt like there was too much information coming in at once.

I no longer think that. I was able to watch this film with some prior knowledge of Oppenheimer himself because I had already seen it and I had read up on him a little bit. I was also able to watch it with subtitles. Those two things made all the difference, because I think this movie is great.

Oppenheimer is a film that is about the atomic bomb, but most of it takes place in senate hearings and classrooms. Despite this, it's incredibly engaging and fascinating. This film is written with incredible skill, because it manages to make these long scenes of dialogue feel real while also having moments of levity. These conversations are about quantum theory and communism, but because there are these tiny, funny breaks in the scene, it makes it more digestible.

Like many Nolan movies, Oppenheimer asks a lot of the audience. While I understood it significantly more this time around, there is still a lot to follow. It can still be confusing. But instead of that being a bad thing, I actually now view it as more of a good thing. So many movies in this day and age are so dumb and make you just turn your brain off. Oppenheimer is the opposite. This movie makes you think. It does not provide easy, right answers. But it is a truly sweeping and epic experience when you are able to fully grasp everything going on.

There's so many more things I can say about this film, but I said most of it in my initial review. All of my positives from that watch still apply. You can check that review out here.

The Sour

I think the weakest part of this film is Kitty Oppenheimer. It feels like she should be a much bigger character than she is. Emily Blunt gives a solid performance, but it feels like there are character beats with her that are just missed. They don't really build up to the romance between the two of them. And after Kitty finds out that Robert cheated on her, she just seems upset the rest of the movie, but that anger doesn't even seem directed towards Robert. It feels like there needs to be more with her to give her a fully rounded character.

In my initial review, I criticized Nolan's use of his typical non-linear storytelling here. While I don't view that as a negative anymore, I think that the movie does not need to be told in non-linear fashion. I cannot really tell if having multiple timelines and jumping between past, present, and future elevates the story or not. I would have to see a linear version of Oppenheimer to confirm that claim.

I said this in my review of Killers of the Flower Moon as well, but I am just going to criticize every single three hour movie for being too long. No movie needs to be three hours long. To be honest, Oppenheimer may be up there with The Godfather as one of the movies that gets closest to earning its runtime, but it still doesn't quite get there. There are always scenes you could cut. It would make the pacing better and the movie less exhausting.

Does This Movie Deserve It's Best Picture Nomination?

Absolutely. Oppenheimer, like Killers of the Flower Moon, was basically nominated before it even came out. The film has an incredible cast, an A-list director, and is about the maker of the atomic bomb. It's also a great film with a sweeping scale, a tragic true story, and multiple powerful scenes that are unlike anything ever done on camera before. I think this movie not only deserves it's Best Picture nomination: I think it's going to win Best Picture.

So, with that prediction, Oppenheimer does earn it's nomination.

Final Thoughts and Score

Oppenheimer vastly improved for me upon rewatch. It is a haunting, awe-inducing true story with incredible performances and a great director behind camera.

I will go Sweet here. Age range is 17+.


Sweet (Great) Savory (Good) Sour (Bad) Moldy (Terrible)


Fun Factor: 8/10

Acting: 9.5/10

Story: 8.5/10

Characters: 8.5/10

Quality: 9.5/10

Directed by Christopher Nolan

Rated R for nudity, language, frightening themes and images, thematic elements

Released on July 21, 2023

3 hours

Cillian Murphy as J. Robert Oppenheimer

Robert Downey Jr. as Lewis Strauss

Emily Blunt as Kitty Oppenheimer

Matt Damon as General Leslie Groves

Florence Pugh as Jean Tatlock

Josh Hartnett as Ernest Lawrence

David Krumholtz as Isidor Rabi

Benny Safdie as Edward Teller

Jason Clarke as Roger Robb

Dylan Arnold as Frank Oppenheimer

Tom Conti as Albert Einstein

Kenneth Branagh as Niels Bohr

Dan DeHaan as Major General Kenneth Nichols

Alden Ehrenreich as Senate Aide to Lewis Strauss

Jefferson Hall as Haakon Chevalier

Casey Affleck as Colonel Boris Pash

Rami Malek as David L. Hill

James D'Arcy as Patrick Blackett

David Dastmalchian as William L. Borden

Tony Goldwyn as Gordon Gray

Matthew Modine as Vannevar Bush

Macon Blair as Lloyd K. Garrison

Matthias Schweighöfer as Werner Heisenberg

Alex Wolff as Luis Walter Alvarez

Josh Zuckerman as Giovanni Rossi Lomanitz

Louise Lombard as Ruth Tolman

Olli Haaskivi as Edward Condon

David Rysdahl as Donald Hornig

Josh Peck as Kenneth Bainbridge

Jack Quaid as Richard Feynman

Gustaf Skarsgård as Hans Bethe

Christopher Denham as Klaus Fuchs

Máté Haumann as Leo Szilard

Olivia Thirlby as Lilli Hornig

Gary Oldman as Harry S. Truman


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