Oppenheimer is Controversial Already, but Not for the Reason You'd Think

Oppenheimer is Controversial Already, but Not for the Reason You'd Think
Image credit: Universal Pictures

Some fans disagree with the film's central romance.

Oppenheimer is one of the most anticipated movies of the summer, and for good reason — the upcoming film will be Christopher Nolan's first R-rated project in more than two decades and the director's first biopic. The story of J. Robert Oppenheimer, the creator of the atomic bomb, has managed to attract some major stars, including Cillian Murphy and Florence Pugh, Matt Damon, Emily Blunt, and Robert Downey Jr.

However, even with such an insane cast and the most talented director working in Hollywood, Oppenheimer has managed to spark some controversy even before its release.

While the movie will certainly touch on some controversial topics, including the infamous US bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the reason why some people began to cancel the film in advance has nothing to do with that. As it turns out, Oppenheimer will feature a romance with a huge age gap, and that's what makes some of the audience uncomfortable.

Real-life Robert Oppenheimer cheated on his wife with psychiatrist Jean Tatlock when he was in his thirties, making the age difference between them almost ten years. In the movie, however, the situation looks much worse.

Murphy, who plays the genius physicist, is 47 years old right now, and Florence Pugh, who plays Tatlock, is just 27, which makes the age difference between them 20 years. And though many real-life romances feature the same age gap, some people argue that Nolan should've cast someone else in the role of Tatlock, as seeing another Hollywood movie where the lead male star is dating someone years younger than him is triggering to many viewers.

However, if the offended fans had delved deeper into the story, they'd realize the controversy has a simple explanation. Oppenheimer is a biographical movie with a huge scope, following the eponymous scientist throughout much of his life, so it's only natural that the actor playing him should be in his forties so he can portray the character in all time periods.

Since Tatlock played only a small role in Oppenheimer's history, Nolan needed to cast someone younger in the role to make the romance seem more realistic. And besides, Pugh wouldn't have agreed to star in the movie if she thought her role was problematic, don't you think?

Oppenheimer premieres in US theaters on July 21, 2023.