Oppenheimer reviews: First “breathtaking” reactions

Daisy Phillipson
Cillian Murphy as J. Robert Oppenheimer.

Here are some of the first reactions to Oppenheimer, with some hailing it Christopher Nolan’s best movie to date – keep reading for more reactions, as well as updates on reviews and the all-important Rotten Tomatoes score. 

This summer marks the battle of the blockbusters, as Oppenheimer and Barbie – two movies that are worlds apart in style and theme – drop on the same day. However, many people are taking the “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em” approach by doing a Barbie/Oppenheimer double bill

Whatever the case, there’s plenty of hype for Christopher Nolan’s upcoming film, which marks one of his most ambitious projects to date, telling the story of the physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer (Cillian Murphy) and the birth of the atomic bomb. 

Ahead of its wide theatrical release this month, select critics and audiences have already seen the movie in an early premiere – so, here are the first reactions to Oppenheimer, along with any updates about the reviews and its Rotten Tomatoes score.

Oppenheimer reactions

Following an early premiere in Paris on July 11, the first reactions to Oppenheimer are in, and they’re nothing short of outstanding, with some even hailing the film Christopher Nolan’s best work to date, and others saying they left the theater “stunned”. 

Taking to Twitter, Matt Maytum, deputy editor at Total Film, wrote: “#Oppenheimer left me stunned: a character study on the grandest scale, with a sublime central performance by Cillian Murphy. An epic historical drama but with a distinctly Nolan sensibility: the tension, structure, sense of scale, startling sound design, remarkable visuals. Wow.”

In a thread, AP film writer Lindsey Bahr said: “Christopher Nolan’s #Oppenheimer is truly a spectacular achievement, in its truthful, concise adaptation, inventive storytelling and nuanced performances from Cillian Murphy, Emily Blunt, Robert Downey Jr., Matt Damon and the many, many others involved – some just for a scene.

Tweet of Oppenheimer first reaction
Tweet of Oppenheimer first reaction

“It’s hard to talk about something as dense as this in something as silly as a tweet or thread but Oppenheimer really is a serious, philosophical, adult drama that’s as tense and exciting as Dunkirk. And the big moment – THAT MOMENT – is awe inspiring.

“So many years after seeing that opening shot of The Dark Knight in IMAX at CityWalk and not understanding what I was seeing on a technical level but feeling it, I feel very lucky to have seen Oppenheimer in 70mm IMAX. A once in a lifetime experience.”

Serieously journalist Romain Cheyron added: “#Oppenheimer is, for me, the best Nolan. Striking, dense, intense. The film, via the main character, doesn’t let go of you, from the first to the last second. A powerful rise and an incredible last hour. Cillian Murphy is absolutely stunning.”

Similarly, writer and Happy Sad Confused podcaster Josh Horowitz described Oppenheimer as “one of, if not Nolan’s best work,” adding: “And that comes from a huge Nolan admirer. I’ve seen it twice. Impeccable immersive filmmaking of the highest order. Cillian Murphy gets the role he deserves. In love with Downey’s work. This one demands your attention.”

Tweet of Oppenheimer first reaction

The Telegraph film critic Robbie Collin wrote: “Am torn between being all coy and mysterious about Oppenheimer and just coming out and saying it’s a total knockout that split my brain open like a twitchy plutonium nucleus and left me sobbing through the end credits like I can’t even remember what else.”

He added in a follow-up tweet: “And for all those who’ve groused about the lack of sex in Christopher Nolan’s earlier work…boy oh BOY, are you getting some sex as only Nolan could stage it in this one.”

Elsewhere, freelance film and TV journalist Simon Thompson said: “#Oppenheimer is powerful stuff. Cillian Murphy’s flawless awards worthy performance is next level. Every player in this rich ensemble cast is at the top of their game. Christopher Nolan’s haunting opus is remarkable and Hoyte van Hoytema‘s execution of his vision is breathtaking.”

Discussing Films said Nolan approached Oppenheimer’s life with an “unbiased lens” and his “script highlights all possible angles and serves as a deep dive into Oppenheimer’s psyche.” While our own Chris Tilly at Dexert gave the movie 5/5 stars stating that while the film is “less biopic, and more horror movie” Oppenheimer “nevertheless finds compassion in Robert’s story.”

We struggled to uncover any criticism towards Oppenheimer. The closest we could find is from The Sunday Times writer Jonathan Dean, who had just one downside to share amongst an otherwise shining reaction to the movie. 

“Totally absorbed in Oppenheimer, a dense, talkie, tense film partly about the bomb, mostly about how doomed we are. Happy summer! Murphy is good, but the support essential: Damon, Downey Jr & Ehrenreich even bring gags. An audacious, inventive, complex film to rattle its audience,” he wrote

“The downside? The women are badly served – Emily Blunt only once gets out of her stressed mother role. But it’s straight into my Nolan top three, alongside Memento & The Prestige.”

Are there any Oppenheimer reviews?

No, there aren’t any full reviews for Oppenheimer right now.

While the social media embargo has lifted for early reactions, critics will be permitted to publish formal reviews online and in print at a later date. We’ll update this space as soon as they’re live.

Does Oppenheimer have a Rotten Tomatoes score?

Oppenheimer currently sits at a Rotten Tomatoes score of 97%.

This score has been compiled from 112 reviews, with most review commending the film for being “remarkably fast and is tense from start to finish.”

Oppenheimer is in cinemas now, and you can find more coverage below:

| Oppenheimer review | Epic runtime revealed | R-rating explained | Best way to watch Oppenheimer | Christopher Nolan on sex scenes | Cast and characters | Filming locations | True story explained | Is Oppenheimer streaming? | Nolan ranked by Rotten Tomato scoresIs it based on a book? | Age-gap controversy explained Robert Pattinson’s influence | How Oppenheimer died | Christopher Nolan explains strange script | Did Japan ban Oppenheimer? | Review roundup | Does Oppenheimer have a post-credits scene? | Who dies? | Box officeEnding explained |

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About The Author

Daisy is a Senior TV and Movies Writer at Dexerto. She's a lover of all things macabre, whether that be horror, crime, psychological thrillers or all of the above. After graduating with a Masters in Magazine Journalism, she's gone on to write for Digital Spy, LADbible and Little White Lies. You can contact her on daisy.phillipson@dexerto.com