The student news publication of Libertyville High School

Drops of Ink

The student news publication of Libertyville High School

Drops of Ink

The student news publication of Libertyville High School

Drops of Ink

Barbenheimer: The cinematic phenomenon of 2023

On July 21, 2023, a legendary movie release combination came to theaters: Barbenhiemer.

The Barbenhiemer trend began when it was announced that “Barbie,” directed by Greta Gerwig, and “Oppenheimer,” directed by Christopher Nolan, shared a release date. This title was used across social media, effectively drawing attention to the two upcoming productions.

Zahraa Patel

When the movies were released, it became a trend for audiences to see both movies on the same day. 

While I did not spend five hours of my day attending two different movie showings, I did get the chance to see both.



“Barbie” kicks off in of Barbieland, a place where the Barbies hold all the power and the Kens are there just to provide entertainment and be acknowledged by the Barbies. Stereotypical Barbie (Margot Robbie) is the most popular Barbie, and is seen enjoying her life in Barbieland until she begins to have an existential crisis. To solve this problem, Barbie is sent to the regular world with the unwanted help of Ken (Ryan Gosling), where both of them will be faced with new truths about reality.

The movie can only be described as a party. Its dazzling dance sequences and colorful costumes made me feel like a little girl again seeing her barbies come to life. Not to mention the humor woven throughout both the dialogue and dance-offs as Barbie and Ken begin to understand and adjust to the regular world.

Zahraa Patel

While the movie is an incredibly enjoyable experience from an entertainment perspective, credit must also be given to the way this movie depicts the female experience. As the movie follows Barbie on her mission to resolve her crisis, it shows her heartbreaking realization that the world, unlike Barbieland, is not run by women, but is instead a society built on patriarchal values. She struggles with this concept throughout the movie, having previously believed she and the other Barbies had made life better for girls and women by representing strong female roles. 

Later in the movie, when the Barbies are fighting with the Kens for control of Barbieland after Ken implemented the patriarchy, Gloria (America Ferrera) gives a beautiful monologue on the impossible standards women are expected to meet. She touches on beauty standards, calculated behaviors and the expectations of women. In the end, she helps Barbie take back control of Barbieland from the Kens and shows Barbie she can be the one creating ideas, rather than an idea created by someone else.

Overall, Barbie was both entertaining and hilarious, while also serving as a powerful critique of the relationship between power, culture and gender in society.



It’s difficult to put “Oppenheimer” into words. The movie begins with the line “Prometheus stole fire from the gods and gave it to man. For this, he was chained to a rock and tortured for eternity.” This is both an extremely powerful quote, as well as the perfect intro to the biography of J. Robert Oppenheimer (Cillian Murphy). 

The movie is split into two specific timelines. The first works its way through the life of Oppenheimer starting in his 20s as he was beginning his studies of experimental physics. The second is pictured in black and white and begins in small clips from a court hearing where Lewis Strauss (Robert Downey Jr.), a long-time adversary of Oppenheimer, is attempting to revoke his security clearance and sabotage his career a few years after the atomic bombs were dropped. This was a unique way for Nolan to delve into two of the most significant aspects of Oppenheimer’s life: his creation of the bomb, and the consequences that follow.

Zahraa Patel

The music and cinematography are compelling in the way the movie utilizes close-up shots to depict characters, specifically Oppenheimer’s emotions as his team of scientists continue on their path to create a successful atomic bomb. The way Nolan uses sound throughout the film is also incredibly impactful during times when Oppenheimer is “hearing the music” (he feels a higher calling from the universe to create something new) or when the bomb is finalized and tested (he perceives the destructive power on a cosmic level).

Not only was the film a masterpiece in its camera work and incredible acting from Murphy and his fellow cast members, but also a valuable perspective of a profoundly important historical event. To see the perspective of not only Americans, but the father of the atomic bomb and his emotional turmoil, depicted on the big screen made the entire creation and use of the bomb feel more personal.

“Oppenheimer” is an amalgamation of art, unique sound and strategic camera. It is a historical film that is both tragic and shameful, as well as a beautiful and empathetic tribute to J. Robert Oppenheimer.

Both movies, in addition to being artistic and thought-provoking, have proven to be wildly popular. As of September, “Barbie” has made over $1.4 billion and “Oppenheimer” has made $890 million at the Global Box Office according to Dexerto.  

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