Fourth Estate/Erica Munisar

Students give side-by-side reviews on recent movies “Barbie” and “Oppenheimer”.


Barbie inspires girls of all ages to achieve their dreams. 


Since the very beginning, Barbie has been a staple of the toy industry. With her blue eyes, iconic blonde hair and her thousands of jobs since her 1957 debut, Barbie teaches many little girls that they can achieve anything they desire and no one can stop them. 

Over the summer, Warner Bros. and Mattel released “Barbie”, a blockbuster film directed by Greta Gerwig. The film is set in Barbie Land, a matriarchal world where Barbies and Kens coexist. What’s later revealed is that in the real world, every Barbie has a human tether. Barbie, played by Margot Robbie, then sets out to find her human till she starts experiencing strange things. 

As I watched the movie, I could only feel a wave of nostalgia wash over me. It touched the core of my being, and I recommend you watch it. It’s so much more than just a “glittery pink girly” movie. It’s a movie about girlhood and the expectations women face in today’s society. 

Gloria, America Ferrera’s character, shared a speech in the movie that perfectly captures this:

“It is literally impossible to be a woman. We have to always be extraordinary, but somehow we’re always doing it wrong.”

“You have to be thin, but not too thin. And you can never say you want to be thin. You have to say you want to be healthy, but also you have to be thin. You have to have money, but you can’t ask for money because that’s crass. You have to be a boss, but you can’t be mean. You have to lead, but you can’t squash other people’s ideas. You’re supposed to love being a mother but don’t talk about your kids all the damn time. You have to be a career woman but also always be looking out for other people.”

“You have to answer for men’s bad behavior, which is insane, but if you point that out, you’re accused of complaining. You’re supposed to stay pretty for men, but not so pretty that you tempt them too much or that you threaten other women because you’re supposed to be a part of the sisterhood.” 

“But always stand out and always be grateful. But never forget that the system is rigged. So find a way to acknowledge that but also always be grateful.”

“I’m just so tired of watching myself and every single woman tie herself into knots so that people will like us. And if all of that is also true for a doll just representing women, then I don’t even know.”

Society pulls women left and right to fit into their cookie-cutter molds. In their eyes, you must be the ideal woman. Society has an expectation of what a woman has to be, and if they don’t fit the expectations, they are considered a “failure” of a woman, or are belittled for not trying hard enough. 

There is no such thing as perfection, and no one can achieve it. Only we can define who we are, not society.


Oppenheimer explores the complex legacy of the creator of the atomic bomb.


Christopher Nolan’s “Oppenheimer” is a cinematic force that delves into the life of Julius Robert Oppenheimer, a brilliant physicist and key figure behind the development of the atomic bomb. Known for his visually stunning and thought-provoking films, Nolan’s storytelling prowess is on full display here. The film weaves together historical accuracy and imaginative storytelling seamlessly, creating a captivating narrative that explores the science, politics, and morality of the Manhattan Project. Additionally, Nolan’s signature use of practical effects and breathtaking visuals adds a layer of authenticity to the period, immersing the audience in the world of 1940s America.

Regarding historical accuracy, the film adheres closely to facts about Oppenheimer’s life and his involvement in the development of the atomic bomb. It paints a picture that features different aspects of the physicist’s journey, starting from his early days in academia, his pivotal role in the Manhattan Project, and finally, his post-war life.

The historical setting is then brought to life as Nolan produces a visual spectual with stunning cinematography that features meticulous attention to detail. Coupled with Hans Zimmer’s evocative musical score for the film, the symphony complements the visuals and enhances the narrative’s emotional impact. The fusion of sound and imagery is a testament to the collaborative genius of Nolan and his team.

The film’s supporting cast, including talents like Matt Damon and Robert Downey Jr., also contribute immensely to the film’s overall quality. Each actor brings their A-game to the project, ensuring the ensemble delivers a memorable cinematic experience. However, at the heart of this film is our main character, Julius Robert Oppenheimer, played by Cillian Murphy, whose masterful performance delivers a compelling portrayal that adds depth and humanity to Oppenheimer’s complex character.

Many Cillian Murphy fans may know him best for his performance as Tommy Shelby in the sixth season of his BBC Two show Peaky Blinders. In Oppenheimer, Murphy’s portrayal is nothing short of phenomenal. From the moment he appears on screen, Murphy’s captivating presence commands attention. His commitment to his role is evident in every nuance of his performance, from physicality to subtle expressions. He captures Oppenheimer’s intellectual brilliance, inner turmoil, and the weight of his moral and ethical dilemmas with an authenticity that is both mesmerizing and profoundly moving.

One key aspect that sets Murphy’s performance apart from his past roles is his ability to convey the inner conflict within Oppenheimer. As the film explores the physicist’s involvement in the Manhattan Project, Murphy skillfully displays the layers of guilt and responsibility that haunted Oppenheimer as he witnessed the destructive power of the atomic bomb. The portrayal of a man torn between scientific achievement and the ethical consequences of his work is delivered with genuine emotional depth.

Murphy’s portrayal also highlights the complexity of Oppenheimer’s personal life. Oppenheimer was both a brilliant scientist and a man with internal struggles. Murphy brings these facets to life with a subtle yet moving touch. Outside of the personal turmoil he endures at work, his chemistry with the supporting cast, including Emily Blunt as Oppenheimer’s wife, Kitty, adds depth to the character’s relationships and enhances the film’s emotional resonance.

Overall, “Oppenheimer” is not merely a biographical account; it serves as a thought-provoking exploration of the ethical and moral dilemmas that arise in pursuing scientific advancement and creating destructive weaponry. This is where Cillian Murphy’s performance truly shines, as he captures the essence of Oppenheimer’s internal struggle, making it a central theme of the film.

“Oppenheimer” is a cinematic triumph, and Cillian Murphy’s portrayal of J. Robert Oppenheimer is a career-defining performance. Christopher Nolan’s direction, stellar supporting cast, and exceptional production values create a visually striking and intellectually stimulating film. Murphy’s ability to bring out the humanity and complexity of Oppenheimer’s character elevates the film to a higher plane, leaving a lasting impact on the audience. “Oppenheimer” is a must-see for anyone interested in history, science, and the art of storytelling on the big screen.