‹ speculatio pauperis in deserto


Jul 24, 2023

I really enjoyed both Barbie & Oppenheimer; I plan to see both again soon, but some initial thoughts:

Barbie is just so fun to watch, start to finish. The production design is stunningly detailed, the writing is weird & funny, & Ryan Gosling & Margot Robbie both deliver wonderful performances—Gosling’s wonderfully funny, & Robbie’s wonderfully subtle. Greta Gerwig adds another film to her already impressive body of work in this sensitive & delightful reflection on the human project of making meaning in the face of uncertainty & death.

That this is, apparently, only the first of Mattel’s own cinematic universe makes me more than a little queasy—& takes some of the bite out Barbie’s jokes at Mattel’s expsnse—but I really, really enjoyed Barbie all the same.

I’m still thinking about Oppenheimer. Like much of Nolan’s work it’s grand & ambitious, but I worry it stumbles a bit under its own weight. Still, it is buoyed by several strong performances (chief among them Cillian Murphy & Robert Downey, Jr.) & visually & aurally stunning sequences. The nonlinear storytelling, while a staple for Nolan, I think did more to detract from than add to the film—though it did allow for an extremely powerful final scene. (I don’t want to say much more than that, for folks who haven’t seen it.) Especially now that I have a better sense of the plot in mind, I’ll have to see it strikes me on a second viewing. I wasn’t quite disappointed or letdown by the film, but neither did it quite have the impact I was anticipating.