The student news site of Seven Lakes High School

The Torch

Student news website
of Seven Lakes High School
The student news site of Seven Lakes High School

The Torch

The student news site of Seven Lakes High School

The Torch

Blowing Up the Big Screen in Style

Photo Provided by Jennifer Karake

Social media is an endless void of cat videos, edits of Taylor Swift, trickshot videos, algebra tutorials, and practically anything else that can be imagined. So it shouldn’t have been surprising that when the Barbie and Oppenheimer movies were announced to be released on the same date, they subsequently became the object of a new and exciting social media trend: Barbenheimer. Soon enough, people were flocking to movie theaters in droves, dressing up in pink and black, debating what order the movies should be seen in, and creating Barbenheimeer movie posters and edits. 

When compared, the Barbie and Oppenheimer movies seem to have very little in common aside from sharing the same release date. While one movie recounts the tumultuous life of the renowned “Father of the Atomic Bomb,” the other follows the story of Barbie, set in the fantastical world Barbieland. However, both movies drew viewers from all walks of life and have racked up millions of dollars in ticket sales alone.

I thought it was a great double feature,” senior Jennifer Karake said. “They had different portrayals of existentialism, enacted by beautiful actors and actresses.”

When it comes down to popularity, the Barbie movie was seen to make a bigger splash when it hit theaters than its counterpart Oppenheimer. Of course, this wasn’t much of a surprise as the Barbie doll has been a well loved toy by little girls for over 50 years while mentions of the Manhattan Project are hardly made outside of history classes.

“I loved the bright colors used in the movie and the costumes [in Barbie] because they made me feel really nostalgic,” junior Molly Oakly said. “[However] I didn’t like how childish the ‘real world’ was because I feel like it took away from some of the message.”

When viewed apart from the double feature, the Barbie movie offers a fantasy world full of bright colors and powerful women. However, despite the magic of Barbieland, the movie provides powerful criticisms on the patriarchy and highlights the daily struggles of women to measure up to the impossibly high standards imposed upon them.

“[What I liked about Barbie] was its message about women’s struggles living in a patriarchal society while also supporting the idea that you should be able to express yourself and your ideas without being shunned for it,” senior April De la Cuesta said. “I feel this movie is able to resonate to women living in our society today and gives something to relate to.”

On the other hand, Oppenheimer brought to life a much darker story; the story of a man grappling with the morality of his decisions and the deadly weapon he had created. Although Oppenheimer’s narrative may be less applicable to society today than Barbie’s, it provides an epic portrayal of the consequences wrought by people’s decisions.

“I loved the intensity and the drama [of Oppenheimer],” Karake said. “The way they weaved the past and present into each other was so meticulous and beautifully done. [But] it was a lot of information with little time to breathe. You kind of had to pick up on context clues as you watched.”

Because these movies are about as different as they could be, it is very hard to compare them. But no matter which one the crowd may find more appealing, the cultural phenomena that is Barbenheimer has not only generated laughable memes, but also brought people together, regardless of their tastes.

“Honestly, I think people shouldn’t put down others for their different tastes,” De la Cuesta said. “Some may say Oppenheimer is better than Barbie, and others will say Barbie had a more impactful message than Oppenheimer. We should just enjoy the things that make us happy and be open to others’ opinions and ideas.”


About the Contributor
Natalie Guske, Editor in Chief
Natalie Guske is a senior and this is her third year on the Torch staff. This is her first year of being an editor and she is very excited to continue to learn and write the stories of her peers in this new role. Outside of newspaper Natalie plays trumpet in the band and is also a part of Miller Career Center’s education program. While enjoying her final year of high school so far, Natalie is looking forward to college and plans on pursuing a degree in elementary education. When she’s not at school or band practice, Natalie enjoys spending time with her friends and family as well as curling up with a good book and a tasty snack.