Oppenheimer parents guide: Is Christopher Nolan’s hit the bomb for family viewing?

You can now Barbenheimer at home with the family. But should you?

Cillian Murphy is J. Robert Oppenheimer in OPPENHEIMER, written, produced, and directed by Christopher Nolan.
Cillian Murphy is J. Robert Oppenheimer in OPPENHEIMER, written, produced, and directed by Christopher Nolan. /
facebooktwitterreddit

You’ve probably heard of the whole Barbenheimer thing. Over the summer of 2023, people would watch Barbie and Oppenheimer back to back as an event. And now you can do it at home, since Barbie is on Max, and Oppenheimer is on Peacock.

We’ve already covered whether Barbie is appropriate for kids, but what about Oppenheimer? Can you Barbenheimer at home with the whole family?

Before we get into our whole parents guide thing (you know, the reason you’re reading this?), you might be wondering about the plot if you simply heard “Barbenheimer” and then yelled “let’s go!” Directed by Christopher Nolan, the three-hour-long movie tells the true story of the father of the atomic bomb. It stars basically every Hollywood dude you can imagine, though the main ones to look out for are Oscar nominees Cillian Murphy as J. Robert Oppenheimer, Robert Downey Jr. as Lewis Strauss, and on the lady side, Emily Blunt as Oppenheimer’s long-suffering wife, and Florence Pugh as his mistress.

That out of the way, is Oppenheimer good family viewing? Or will it blow up in your face?

Oppenheimer Parents Guide: Explaining The R Rating

The MPA rates Oppenheimer R for some sexuality, nudity, and language. So you already know you’re venturing into adults only territory. But how adult are we talking?

Sex & Nudity: While there is technically no full-frontal nudity, there are several sex scenes involving a fully nude Florence Pugh, and a fully nude Cillian Murphy throughout the movie, as well as one scene where the two converse naked while sitting on chairs. Despite some online chatter, these scenes are very much crucial to the plot and themes of the film, so despite what random TikTokers might say, these scenes are not skippable if you want to understand what is a very dense and intricately crafted film. Sorry, parents.

Violence: There’s one scene where Oppenheimer imagines the impact of the atomic bomb which could be alarming for younger viewers, including a woman’s skin peeling off. There’s also a depiction of death by suicide that isn’t bloody, but it is upsetting.

Language: It’s not constant, but there are f-bombs and other swears, as you might imagine from a high tension situation where adults are trying to build the world’s first atomic bomb before the Nazis.

Drinking & Drugs: There’s a fair amount of smoking throughout, including discussions of giving up cigarettes (and then not doing it). There’s also drinking in adult situations, and one character clearly has an alcohol problem.

Overall Verdict: What Age Is Oppenheimer Appropriate For?

I’d give Oppenheimer its R rating based on nudity and sex, for sure. It’s also a very adult, complicated movie with a lot of fast talking from scientists discussing high-level concepts about physics, and aspects of World War II. While this is a great educational piece for an important moment in history, younger viewers may get bored by the long run time, and potentially confused as well. If you feel comfortable watching sex scenes with your teens (I do not!), this is definitely at the medium end of graphic there, with thrusting and implied sexual movements. Point being: 17 and up is a-okay. Any younger and you might have to leave them to watch it themselves, then come back later to answer a whole lot of questions.

The Zone Of Interest parents guide: Is the Oscar-nominated Holocaust movie okay for kids?. The Zone Of Interest parents guide: Is the Oscar-nominated Holocaust movie okay for kids?. dark. Next