There are a couple of controversial scenes in Oppenheimer. You’ve got the Trinity Test, of course, fundamental to Oppenheimer‘s story, but there a couple of character moments that have garnered discussion around the Christopher Nolan movie.
One involves his attempted poisoning of professor Patrick Blackett, who wasn’t the nicest lecturer towards Oppenheimer. So, the young physicist injects an apple with cyanide and leaves it on Blackett’s desk. You wouldn’t be wrong for thinking that’s quite dark, and even though this is one of the best movies of the year, Oppenheimer’s own family don’t love it.
“I definitely would have removed the apple thing,” Charles Oppenheimer, the grandson of the famed scientist, told Time. “But I can’t imagine myself giving advice about movie stuff to Nolan. He’s an expert, he’s the artist, and he’s a genius in this area.”
Charles explains that the new movie blurred the lines a little around what was ultimately true about his grandfather. “If you read American Prometheus carefully enough, the authors say, ‘We don’t really know if it happened’,” he says. “There’s no record of him trying to kill somebody. That’s a really serious accusation and it’s historical revision.”
But, there some additions that helped the portrait, too. “I thought Einstein’s conversation with Oppenheimer at the end was really effective even though it wasn’t historical,” Charles adds.
Taking liberties is part of making movies based on a true story. Nolan has to balance the truth with making a great film, and they don’t always align. As Charles points out, Nolan’s a master, having made some of the best science fiction movies and best drama movies ever.
The proof is on screen. Our Oppenheimer review makes as much clear. If you’ve seen the film, you might like our guides on the destroyer of worlds quote in Oppenheimer, and where you can watch Oppenheimer in 70mm IMAX.