Next summer, on July 21, in what will be the single greatest traffic day of Letterboxd’s life, Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer and Greta Gerwig’s Barbie will be released in theaters. Both of these films have the makings of instant summer classics, the former being a somber, male-driven film about the atomic bomb (slay!) and the latter being a playful adaptation of a children’s toy that we go in and out of canceling every five years.
But there is one big issue that threatens to ruin this cinematic event almost one year out, and that is: We are seeing way too many set photos of Barbie.
It started out fine, almost innocuous, with a promotional photo of Ryan Gosling as Ken, hair-bleached and The Place Beyond The Pines-ed as ever.
Now, every single day since then, we’ve been subjected to photos and shakily filmed bystander footage from the Barbie set. We’ve had Margot Robbie as Barbie and whoever America Ferrara is playing rollerblading, we’ve had Barbie and Ken rollerblading, we’ve had cowgirl and cowboy Barbie and Ken in dialogue about, I don’t know, collagen supplements. Enough of this. I don’t want to see anymore. Regardless of your excitement or lack thereof for Gerwig’s third feature film, we are getting exposed to way too much of this movie way too soon before it’s out. I only need to see so much neon-colored clothing before I know a costume designer is doing their job.
There was another much-hyped film that shared this problem, a somehow still forthcoming Don’t Worry Darling. Olivia Wilde’s sophomore feature starring Florence Pugh and her now-boyfriend Harry Styles shot from the fall of 2020 until the late winter of 2021, and it won’t be out til this coming fall, which means we’ve lived with those photos of Pugh and Styles standing around an old-timey car for almost two years. When the trailer for that film came out, I thought: “Yeah, I know it’s apparently the 1950s, I saw the set photos.”
This doesn’t necessarily apply to Oppenheimer, if only because everyone on that shoot is wearing the same outfit (suit) which is classic Christopher Nolan (boring in a way that only I understand).
I recognize that doing a big public shoot with extremely famous people courts paparazzi and fans alike, but for the sake of the movie, of Gerwig’s rising star, of an adult woman getting other adult women excited to watch her play an adult children’s toy, let’s cool it on the photos for now.