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Today’s Prayer Focus


also known as “Openheimeris,” “Οπενχάιμερ,” “Опенхаймер,” “Оппенгеймер,” “オッペンハイマー,” “ओप्पेन्हेइमेर,” “奧本海默”
MPA Rating: R-Rating (MPA) for some sexuality, nudity and language.

Reviewed by: Alexander Malsan

Moral Rating: Very Offensive to Extremely Offensive—Not Recommended
Moviemaking Quality:
Primary Audience: Adults
Genre: Biography History Drama IMAX Adaptation
Length: 3 hr.
Year of Release: 2023
USA Release: July 21, 2023 (wide release—3,610 theaters)
DVD: November 21, 2023
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Relevant Issues

Secular Humanist worldview promoted


World War Two

American scientist J. Robert Oppenheimer, theoretical physicist and his role in developing atomic bombs

Los Alamos Laboratory during the Manhattan Project

Films with heavy subject matter

Result was a weapon that destroyed thousands of people

Both the U.S. AND the Nazis where rushing to develop atomic bombs during WWII, can you imagine what would have happened if the Nazis had succeeded before America. Which nightmare would you prefer to pick?

The availability of atomic weapons changed the world

“Genius is no guarantee of wisdom.”

What is the Biblical perspective on war? Answer

War in the Bible

Issue of pain and suffering

Why does God allow innocent people to suffer?

What about the issue of suffering? Doesn’t this prove that there is no God and that we are on our own? Answer

ORIGIN OF BAD THINGS—Why are they in our world if a good God created us? Answer

Paradise or Pain? Why is the world the way it is?
Why is the world the way it is? If God is all-knowing, all-powerful, and loving, would He really create a world like this? (filled with oppression, suffering, death and cruelty) Answer

Is the portrayal of anti-Communists in this film fair and accurate, or distorted?

Copyright, Universal Pictures Copyright, Universal Pictures Copyright, Universal Pictures Copyright, Universal Pictures Copyright, Universal Pictures Copyright, Universal Pictures Copyright, Universal Pictures
Featuring Cillian MurphyJ. Robert Oppenheimer
Emily BluntKatherine “Kitty” Oppenheimer, German American biologist, botanist, member of the Communist Party of America, wife of physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer
Josh HartnettErnest Lawrence, nuclear physicist who invented the cyclotron
Florence PughJean Tatlock, American psychiatrist and physician, member of the Communist Party of the USA, known for her romantic relationship with J. Robert Oppenheimer
Matt DamonLeslie Groves Jr., United States Army Corps of Engineers officer who directed the Manhattan Project
Robert Downey Jr.Lewis Strauss
Jack QuaidRichard Feynman
Gary OldmanHarry S. Truman
Gustaf SkarsgårdHans Bethe
Olivia ThirlbyLilli Hornig
Kenneth BranaghNiels Bohr
Rami MalekDavid Hill
Alden EhrenreichSenate aide
David DastmalchianWilliam L. Borden
Dane DeHaanMajor General Kenneth Nichols
David KrumholtzIsidor Isaac Rabi, American physicist who won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1944 for his discovery of nuclear magnetic resonance
Casey AffleckBoris Pash, US Army military intelligence officer
Alex WolffLuis Walter Alvarez, American experimental physicist, inventor, and professor / In 2007 the American Journal of Physics commented, “Luis Alvarez was one of the most brilliant and productive experimental physicists of the twentieth century.”
Matthew ModineVannevar Bush, American engineer, inventor and science administrator, who during World War II headed the U.S. Office of Scientific Research and Development (OSRD), through which almost all wartime military R&D was carried out, including important developments in radar and the initiation and early administration of the Manhattan Project.
James RemarHenry Stimson, American statesman, lawyer, and politician, a leading figure in U.S. foreign policy and who oversaw American military efforts during World War II
Tony GoldwynGordon Gray
Scott GrimesCounsel
Michael AngaranoRobert Serber
Josh PeckKenneth Bainbridge
Devon BostickSeth Neddermeyer, American physicist who co-discovered the muon, and championed the Implosion-type nuclear weapon
Jason ClarkeRoger Robb, circuit judge of the US Court of Appeals District of Columbia and trial attorney, best known for his key role as special counsel to an Atomic Energy Commission hearing that led to revocation of J. Robert Oppenheimer’s security clearance in 1954
James D'ArcyPatrick Blackett, British experimental physicist
See all »
Director Christopher Nolan
Producer Universal Pictures
Atlas Entertainment
See all »

Definitely not a feel-good movie

Dr. J. Robbert Oppenheimer (Cillian Murphy) is one of the most revered scientists in the history of theoretical physics. The narrative for the film “Oppenheimer” takes place in four different settings: his time working as a professor at Cambridge University, his time as the manager of the Manhattan Project (the project that led to the creation of both the hydrogen bomb and the atomic bomb). And both a closed and open session with members of Congress.

Within these various settings, we witness the rise and fall of J. Robert Oppenheimer, the man whom the world would later name the “father of the atomic bomb.” We watch as Oppenheimer struggles with himself in what may occur with the atomic bomb (as it is being created in Los Alamos) and what DOES occur as a result of not only releasing one, but two atomic bombs on Japan. We watch his claim to fame after spending three years in Los Alamos creating these weapons of destruction and his sudden fall from grace among the public during the Second Red Scare (a time in our history where individuals with left-wing political beliefs were persecuted and ostracized for having Socialist and Communist associations with the Communist Party USA, regardless of whether these accusations were true or not).

“Oppenheimer” serves as a stern, grim reminder of the cost of greatness, the cost of war, and the emotional inner turmoil that comes from unleashing the most destructive and powerful weapon on the planet.

“Oppenheimer,” as I stated, is far from a feel-good film. Anyone who is versed in even a little U.S. history, knows exactly what the implications of the Manhattan Project were. As a result of the Manhattan Project, just like an atomic bomb itself, the fallout led to a new variety of issues in the United States and abroad, such as the regulation of atomic weapons, both their creation and use.

The film “Oppenheimer” brings a complex, yet conflicting message that addresses the age old question “Does the end justify the means?” If you were ask to some historians, many would state that, yes, the bombings were necessary in an effort to quell the fighting by the Japanese and bring an end to World War II. However, as famous physicist Niels Bohr, states in the film, “A bomb falls on the just and the unjust.” While the bombings did lead to the end of WWII and Japan’s surrender, it came at a heavy cost: the loss of over 129,000-226,000 individuals, most of them Japanese civilians. The film, “Oppenheimer,” beautifully dives into both sides of the discussion, while critically examining the thoughts and actions of everyone involved in the Manhattan Project, not just Dr. Oppenheimer himself.

To put it simply, “Oppenheimer” has elements of a cinematic masterpiece. The film, coming in at a whopping 3 hours in length never felts overly lengthy to me, nor does it feel underwhelmingly short. Within the 3 hours, the level of tension and anxiety almost never lightens up. As I sat there, trying to take as many notes as I could, I felt the level of gravitas surrounding the film. Director Christopher is without a doubt one of the most prolific and skilled directors and producers in Hollywood. His films alway carry heavy, yet difficult messages to examine. Nolan takes such a clear approach to this film. He is not trying to preach a message we don’t already know or understand. He is clearly trying to make his audience realize that even the father of the atomic bomb did not take the creation of the bomb lightly. He does this, as previously mentioned, through the careful examination of the four most significant moments of Dr. Oppenheimer’s life.

Let me be clear from the start: “Oppenheimer” is not a film for the faint of heart, and it is certainly NOT for young audiences (this includes teens). There is some intense violence in the film (though some, like the results of the bombings, are never shown), as well as some INCREDIBLY unnecessary graphic nudity and sexual content throughout the entire film (I mean really Nolan? Don’t cheapen yourself with this kind of content in your films. You’re better than this).

On a performance note, Cillian Murphy, who plays Oppenheimer, gives the performance of his career. Every line he gives is carefully delivered, and he brings depth and humanistic understanding of Dr. Oppenheimer. Robert Downey Jr. also puts in a brilliant performance as Dr. Leopold Strauss, as does Matt Damon as General Leslie Groves, the director of the Manhattan project. Additionally some commendable performances come from Emily Blunt as Katherine Oppenheimer and Kenneth Branagh as Niels Bohr.

On a final note, the visuals and camerawork in this film are spot on. As I stated, the film almost never lightens up in its 3 hour run, and this is in part due to the jaw-dropping visuals of the film, whether this is during Dr. Oppenheimer’s dreams or during the testing of the bomb, every visual is carefully crafted to receive the maximum amount of shock and awe.

Content of Concern

Nudity: Extreme. There is some serious, graphic nudity in the film, not just once but FIVE times! The first scene includes a woman displaying full frontal nudity for an extended sequence (her genitals are not shown) while engaging in intercourse with another naked individual. In another scene, these two characters are seen again, engaging in intercourse in front of someone who accidentally walks in. In the third instance, these individuals are, again, fully naked, sitting in chairs having a discussion with each other. In one final scene, a character is seen sitting naked on a chair. In a dream sequence, Oppenheimer is naked, once again, in front of members of Congress.

Sexual Content: As previously mentioned, two characters are engaging in graphic sexual intercourse on two different instances. Oppenheimer was known as a “womanizer” during his lifetime, and he engages in an affair while married to someone else. He begins to describe to his wife how wonderful his intercourse was to his mistress. This affair is mentioned in Oppenheimer’s testimony to Congress.

Q & A

Adultery and fornication in the Bible

Sexual lust outside of marriage—Why does God strongly warn us about it?

Purity—Should I save sex for marriage?

Violence: Someone is seen committing suicide by drowning. There are multiple discussions about the destruction and aftermath of a possible atomic bomb, including discussions on which of the Japanese cities to target. In some dream sequences, Oppenheimer imagines the atomic bomb melting the skins off of people. In another sequence, Oppenheimer is seen walking on the burnt carcasses of individuals. There is another moment when people are discussing the horrific aftermath of the atomic bomb (this is after it’s been used). Someone throws a glass at another person. We witness a couple dummy tests of the bomb, as well as the first test of the atomic bomb at Los Alamos. There are some suggestions about torturing individuals. President Truman mentions to Oppenheimer that only he will be remembered for the deaths of the people of Hiroshima and Nagaski, not Oppenheimer and his team. We witness the test of the atomic bomb.

Vulgar Language: F***ing (7-10), Sh*tty (1), Sh*t (2), Scr*w you (1), “Cr*p,” “Smart a**” (1), A**-hole. Someone makes a crude reference to male anatomy. A female character mentions to someone that the fallout of an atomic bomb will affect male anatomy more than female as the male has “anatomy that is exposed.”

Profanity: J*sus (2), Chr*st (1), D*mn (1), D*mnit (2), “G*d d*mn,” “Go to H*ll” (1), “What the h*ll (1)

Drugs: Someone is seen addicted to painkillers, which causes her to drown herself in her tub.

Alcohol: There are multiple scenes where characters are seen drinking alcohol.

Other: There are references to the fact that members of Oppenheimer’s family are part of the Communist Party of America (it is even rumored in the film that Oppenheimer was part of the party, but these are only rumors. He even criticizes his brother for being a member of the Party). People are seen throwing up. Kitty and Oppenheimer are seen as neglectful parents in the film: the children are often seen crying, and Kitty and Oppenheimer even pass off their children to some friends to be taken care of for several months.


A huge portion of the film is devoted to showing the audience how conflicted many scientists were during the Manhattan Project, including Oppenheimer. In fact, Oppenheimer quotes to himself on two occasions, “Now I am becoming Death. The destroyer of all worlds” (a line from the Hindu sacred text, the Bhagavad Gita).

Initially after the detonation of the atomic bomb on the two cities, Oppenheimer is praised for all his hard work and the success of the bombs. But as quick as Oppenheimer is praised, he is quickly admonished by members of Congress and the public during the Second Red Scare.

This moment reminded me of the following Scriptures which discuss the lunacy of living in the world and the dangers of fame…

“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world.” —1 John 2:15-16

“For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?” —Mark 8:36

In essence it is important to remember that as Christians we should be very cautious about seeking fame and fortune, for both of them are frail and fleeting moments, and in the end do not matter to God. What will matter on the day of Judgment will be where are hearts are for the Lord and our witness to the world.

Closing Thoughts

Like Dr. Oppenheimer and the members of the Manhattan Project, I feel conflicted when it comes to the film “Oppenheimer.” On one hand, the film is cinematically brilliant from start to finish: the camera work, the performances, the tone, the setting, and the pacing of the film (in spite of its 3 hour length, in my opinion).

On the OTHER hand, this film is littered with vulgar dialog, profanity and extremely graphic sexual content and nudity (even two days after having seen the film, the obscenely graphic imagery still plays in my head).

Due to the above mentioned content (all of which could have been left out of the film), I strongly discourage anyone from viewing “Oppenheimer” (please note the stars do NOT warrant a recommendation either. They are based on cinematic quality ONLY). As I mentioned previously, this film is NOT for children, teens or Christians in general. You are better off reading a history book on this matter instead.

  • Nudity: Extreme
  • Sex: Very Heavy
  • Vulgar/Crude language: Very Heavy
  • Profane language: Moderately Heavy
  • Violence: Moderate
  • Drugs/Alcohol: Moderate
  • Wokeism: Mild
  • Occult: None

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.

Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Neutral—“Oppenheimer” is impressive in so many ways. I especially admired its fairness: it did not shrink from the controversies of the time: no excuses were made for Communism (rampant at Los Alamos and elsewhere in the government, the army, and Hollywood at that time), bureaucratic inconsistency in academia and Washington, and personal peccadilloes (these depictions, however, tended to be petty in their puerile but ultimately unrevealing exposure). The performances were excellent across the board and brought to life a culture and an epoch that we too often dismiss as inhibited and out of touch. On the other hand, I felt as though the foundation upon which the whole story was built felt shaky, and I think it was more than the IMAX effect which made everything in the theater shake.

The glorification of the scientist above all others: politicians, armed services personnel, and well, everyone felt moralistic yet strangely lacking in moral principle. Religion was not a foundation or a guiding force, but an identity relegated to one side of a battle line. In Nolan’s telling, it is the scientist who keeps everyone in check; he himself is above reproach, a kind of god who exists in a sphere above all others. And Oppenheimer does speak as though he was doing so from Mount Olympus: “Now I am become death, the destroyer of worlds.”

In today’s world where words such as “scientific consensus, ” “the science is settled, ” and “I represent science” are taken as sacred because a culturally revered scientist speaks them, I worry. I see a now overgrown tree, one that may have sprouted from the seed that is the Oppenheimer legend. At least it’s the legend that Mr. Nolan presents.

Oppenheimer was a genius. I thank God he was an American genius. And that he made the weapon he did. And that President Truman used it.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Very Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 3½
Jim O'neill, age 70 (USA)
Positive— …I thought this was one of Christopher Nolan’s better films for sure. It starts a little slow as they develop the characters. The graphic sex scenes were definitely not needed and could have been handled in a different manner, however, there is plenty of information as to where those scenes are in the film, good time to look around for the popcorn or to check your phone. Other than that the story starts improving. The actual meat of the story, the Manhattan Project seemed slightly rushed, but a very eyeopening sequence. The story then slowed again for the third act. Lots of facts and names to keep up with, think Lord of the Rings level of information.

In addition the acting was well done, including Robert Downey Jr. who I didn’t recognize at first. Overall, it was an interesting glimpse into that moment in history. The sexual content and slight amount of language was definitely the downside. Nolan has made some very thought provoking films in the past without all that stuff. Hopefully this will be his only try at that. Just some thoughts.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4½
Chris, age 51 (USA)
Positive—I saw “Oppenheimer” on a streaming service today, and I loved it. The acting, and writing, and directing, etcetera, were all top-notch—as expected from Christopher Nolan.

Biblically speaking, there is some sexuality and nudity (only female upper and rear; no frontal or rear male nudity), and blasphemy, and profanity, and smoking, and drinking. Whilst I feel that the sexuality and nudity and profanity could have been prevaricated, I was not offended by those things. The story would have worked even better sans the aforementioned content in addition to the excision of the blasphemy. Even though I am a millennial, I more or less have a conservative mindset which informs my taste of what works and what does not work well in a photoplay.

Someone here mentioned “Oppenheimer” as Nolan’s nod to JFK. I disagree. JFK was a complete fabrication loosely based on history, and so boring I fell asleep three times when watching it for the first time. Whereas “Oppenheimer” held my interest for the entire three hour running time. Oppenheimer is rated R.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 5
D, age 38 (USA)
NegativeLong & tediously boring. Such a big disappointment after waiting for months to see it. It rambles & fumbles & never delivers what it should. Doesn’t develop characters but leaves viewer trying to figure them out. Can anyone out there in Hollow-wood make a good movie anymore? The actors try hard but get lost in the mind numbing nothingness. A couple of inappropriate nude scenes try to add some interest, but they fail there as well, looking equally uninspired.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 3
B.B., age 65 (USA)
Negative—This movie was extremely hard to follow and understand. The acting was very good, and they chose good actors, but they really zeroed in on the nudity which was totally not needed. They could have shown how he had an extramarital affair in other non-graphic ways. On the flip side, they did show how Oppenheimer struggled emotionally with the damage this bomb did to people, and he probably felt some guilt about it. I don’t recommend this movie though.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Extremely Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 1
CJ , age 64 (USA)
Negative—This movie is VERY long,W so if you go be prepared to sit for a long time. It’s not quite what I thought it was going to be. I assumed it would deal more with the making of the bomb and not on the inner turmoil of his life.

There are VERY graphic (and unnecessary) sex scenes, which if it needed to be dealt with could have been handled more discreetly.

All in all, I cannot give this my glowing endorsement, other than to say that it was nice to see Robert Downey Jr. play a more serious (less cocky) role.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4
Reba, age 60+ (USA)

PLEASE share your observations and insights to be posted here.

Secular Movie Critics
[“Oppenheimer”] is based on a 17-year-old book, American Prometheus, that was itself started way back in 1980. …Although we have learned quite a bit more about the real Oppenheimer and the atomic spies, thanks to the opening of Kremlin files with the fall of the Soviet Union, Hollywood and the establishment media won’t go anywhere near any of that. Instead, they are stuck in a late 1970s redux… Anyway, the real story of America’s 20th Century Communists would make for some great movies, mini-series, or documentaries. They just won’t be coming to a cinema near you anytime soon.
Brings out the best and worst in Christopher Nolan… Visually stunning but emotionally empty… What I can say for sure is that “Oppenheimer” far too often feels like a three-hour Wikipedia entry than a compelling movie. …
Odie Henderson, The Boston Globe
…With all of its quick cuts and time-hopping, “Oppenheimer” behaves like a film that’s worried that it won’t have the space to fit everything it wants to say and do into three hours. Then it exhausts its welcome in the service of reiterating points. Then it delivers lectures in case you missed the earlier rounds. It knows how to blow up the world, but it doesn’t know when to quit. …
Alonso Duralde, The Film Verdict
…Writer-director Christopher Nolan’s epic film essentially consists of three chapters, with the middle, Atlas-like, holding up the weaker, drawn-out beginning and end. …a good movie, but not some sort of cinematic event. …
Brian Lowry, CNN
…Makes a riveting historical psychodrama, but it doesn’t build to a big bang… a film that’s ruthlessly authentic and, for much of its three hours, gripping…
Owen Gleiberman, Variety
…Christopher Nolan’s somber biopic is the antithesis of summertime studio popcorn. … Oppenheimer has the temerity to be a drama of ideas staged on a massive scale, at a time when such things are out of vogue. …
Richard Lawson, Vanity Fair
‘Oppenheimer’ is Christopher Nolan’s homage to Oliver Stone’s ‘JFK,’ for better or worse …At three hours long, even though the editing and narrative style keeps it moving, it gets to be redundant. …
Mike Ryan, Uproxx
…The irony is that what makes the movie challenging is not the scientific theory—which is delivered with a diplomatically light touch—but a glut of political paranoia. …Downey, liberated from the stranglehold of Marvel, provides the least mannered and the most densely textured performance of his career. Polite, bespectacled, and immune to panic, Strauss—a chairman of the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission—comes across, in Downey’s rendering, as the most pitiless of Machiavels. The downside is that he all but commandeers the film. …
Anthony Lane, The New Yorker
…The film doesn’t hold to any sort of rigid structure… Instead, Nolan dances around his timeline like he’s Tom Hanks playing a giant piano at FAO Schwartz (leaving this critic, at least, intrigued by the idea of a chronologically cut version of the film, just to see what it’d be like). …
Liz Shannon Miller, Consequence
…this isn’t a home run. Still, many of the flaws are more than compensated for by the flashes of brilliance and the strength of the central character’s presentation. …The incessant musical score becomes intrusive, especially during the first half. Sound mixing issues once again cause dialogue to be drowned out upon occasion. …
James Berardinelli, ReelViews
…“Oppenheimer” is a movie so sprawling it’s difficult to contend with. It’s rich, uncompromising, and borderline unwieldy, but more than anything, it’s a tragedy of operatic grandeur despite so many of its scenes consisting of men talking in rooms. …
Alison Willmore, Vulture (New York Magazine)
…This is a big, ballsy, serious-minded cinematic event of a type now virtually extinct from the studios. It fully embraces the contradictions of an intellectual giant who was also a deeply flawed man… perhaps the most surprising element of this audacious epic is that the scramble for atomic armament ends up being secondary to the scathing depiction of political gamesmanship, as one of the most brilliant scientific minds of the 20th century is vilified for voicing learned opinions that go against America’s arms-race thinking. …
David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter
The “Father of the A-Bomb” is ready for his extremely long close-up… At three dense hours of mostly dialogue and murky motivation, “Oppenheimer” demands commitment and tests patience… “Oppenheimer” is three hours of testimony played out as drama. There are no action scenes as such, besides pyro played on the quantum and city-destroying level. It is the opposite of escapism, but it’s real history worth telling. …[B+]
Jim Slotek, Original Cin