Margot Robbie as Barbie and Cillian Murphy as Oppenheimer

‘Barbie’ and ‘Oppenheimer’ Have More in Common Than I Expected

The unintended creation of Barbenheimer left many wondering how this double feature would play out—not because movies have to be viewed together but because this was a special occasion and many were going to see them back to back. Whether they flowed together as movies was the question. The tones were both drastically different from one another, so they would seeming serve as a palette cleanser for each other, but it turns out that’s not all.

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Surprisingly, the two have one major theme in common. Actually, the entire message of both movies is similar. For Barbie, it’s telling young girls of the world that being a woman is hard, especially in a world where the patriarchy thrives, but that it is still beautiful to be a woman in general. So how does a movie about Barbie, where she is dealing with her Ken’s nonsense, connect to Oppenheimer, the film about J. Robert Oppenheimer and the creation of the atomic bomb?

You’d think that Barbie would have nothing that ties it to Oppenheimer other than a release date. After all, it’s a movie about the blonde doll with a complicated history rooted in maybe setting feminism back with her looks, and how does that tie to the real life complicated figure of J. Robert Oppenheimer? But when you have two of the best filmmakers around releasing movies on the same day, it shouldn’t surprise us that they could be connected in other ways. How though?

Well, the answer is honestly surprising. At the end of the day, both Barbie and Oppenheimer highlight the power that men hold. What is shocking is how they both prove to us that it’s a terrifying thing to see. Watching as Christopher Nolan’s tale of J. Robert Oppenheimer called out the very man at the center of it, it’s clear that this film is all about how men use their power and will willingly see the world burn to use it to their advantage. What is Barbie about? Well, about the power that men have over women and how they use it to their advantage. So, again, a surprisingly good double feature.

Look, maybe it’s just because these movies have been so tied together since their release dates were announced, but the fact that the double feature actually makes sense is something that is fascinating to me. Sure, having the theme of “men often suck” isn’t revolutionary, but the fact that both Christopher Nolan’s epic Oppenheimer and Gerwig’s pink world of Barbie have the same ending message is a pretty wild twist.

Don’t get me wrong; they both have differing views and themes within their stories, but the overall message of men being their own destruction and taking others down with them is pretty weird when you stop and think about it. So don’t worry, the double feature of Barbenheimer isn’t just a fun moment in history but actually a good double feature.

(featured image: Universal Pictures/Warner Bros.)

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Rachel Leishman
Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. She's been a writer professionally since 2016 but was always obsessed with movies and television and writing about them growing up. A lover of Spider-Man and Wanda Maximoff's biggest defender, she has interests in all things nerdy and a cat named Benjamin Wyatt the cat. If you want to talk classic rock music or all things Harrison Ford, she's your girl but her interests span far and wide. Yes, she knows she looks like Florence Pugh. She has multiple podcasts, normally has opinions on any bit of pop culture, and can tell you can actors entire filmography off the top of her head. Her current obsession is Glen Powell's dog, Brisket. Her work at the Mary Sue often includes Star Wars, Marvel, DC, movie reviews, and interviews.