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'Covers the campus like the magnolias'
"Covers the campus like the magnolias"

Old Gold & Black

"Covers the campus like the magnolias"

Old Gold & Black

‘Barbenheimer:’ A timeline of my ultimate day at the theater

Print Managing Editor Breanna Laws sees ‘Barbie’ and ‘Oppenheimer’ on the same day
Breanna Laws
Breanna Laws (center) poses with her friends after seeing “Barbie” and “Oppenheimer.”

Over the summer, cinema endured a cultural reset, and people came out in droves to be a part of the experience. Donned in their best suits or their brightest pinks (or both, in some cases), thousands participated in — as the internet refers to it — Barbenheimer. 

Barbenheimer refers to watching both “Barbie,” directed by Greta Gerwig, and “Oppenheimer,” directed by Christopher Nolan, on the same day. The films were released on the same day back in July, and both had been highly anticipated for months.

I’ve been an avid movie-goer for quite some time — my first theater experience was when I was five years old. My grandmother took me to see “Horton Hears a Who!” back in 2008, and I’ve been hooked on cinema ever since. So, of course, I had to partake in this historic day for movies.

Here’s how my Barbenheimer day went:

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Tuesday, July 25, 9:20 p.m.

I take an everything shower (the highest level of shower, including washing my hair, using my best-smelling soaps and scrubs and, my personal touch, lighting candles). My hair is washed; my skin is moisturized. I am flourishing. I text my best friends from my hometown, Gracie and J’Lynn, “Taking my Barbie girl shower so I can have Barbie girl hair for our Barbie girl day.”

Wednesday, July 26, 8:30 a.m.

Laws shows off her outfit for “Oppenheimer.” (Breanna Laws)

I compiled my outfits for the day: a business casual fit for “Oppenheimer” and an all-pink one for “Barbie.” We decided to watch “Oppenheimer” earlier in the morning, followed by lunch, a wardrobe change and the “Barbie” movie.

Disaster strikes. Gracie informs us that she cannot make it to Winston-Salem in time for the “Oppenheimer” viewing. She is set to join us for lunch and “Barbie.” J’Lynn and I are disappointed, but not surprised at our dearest friend’s last-minute update. We press onward to the theater.

Wednesday, July 26, 11:00 a.m.

“Oppenheimer” time. Me and J’Lynn got seats in the perfect middle of the theater. The seats were heated and reclined — we felt immeasurably fancy. The movie was incredible with equally incredible actors. One thing about me is I will never miss a movie with Florence Pugh in it.

The sound design was easily my favorite part of the film — particularly in the victory speech scene. The banging of feet and cheers of the crowd are just as overwhelming to the audience, as they are meant to be for Oppenheimer as he addresses the crowd. The music score was brilliant, and the IMAX speaker setup made it just that much better. 

Wednesday, July 26, 2:00 p.m.

After “Oppenheimer,” Gracie joined us for lunch. We went to one of my favorite places in Winston-Salem — a little café and bar located just outside of downtown called The Remedy. We absolutely went to town, sharing a charcuterie board while also getting ourselves drinks and brownies. The servers were nice not to judge the sheer amount of items we ordered.

I ordered a matcha lemonade to drink while Gracie ordered a blackberry jasmine iced tea. J’Lynn does not like tea or coffee (crazy), so she just had water (boring). I completed my outfit change in the bathroom and emerged like a pink butterfly from her chrysalis.

Now, it was time for the “Barbie” movie — something I had been looking forward to for months. J’Lynn was our chauffeur for the day, so I took the passenger princess duties of taking copious amounts of car selfies.

Wednesday, July 26,  4 p.m.

We arrived back at the theater, this time with Gracie in tow. I took many pictures, much to her dismay. Everyone in the theater was wearing pink (except J’Lynn because I forgot the shirt I got for her, but I digress). A busted Barbie box sat in the corner of the theater lobby in which to take pictures. Happy emotions were in the air, and we were so ready.

Walking into the theater, there were noticeably more adults than children. Almost everyone in attendance looked to be around college-age. I had prepared for this day well in advance, so we had perfect middle seats once again. 

When I tell you “Barbie” took me on an emotional rollercoaster, I mean it. It was so delightfully funny at times but also so heart-wrenching at others. The songs were incredible, and many of them have become permanent staples on my Spotify playlists. The actors were excellent in both the most serious and the most ridiculous moments.

I’m glad they chose to include so much real Barbie lore, including the story behind Barbie’s creation. I still own every Barbie movie CD from when I was a kid (“Barbie and the Diamond Castle” is still my favorite), and I love talking to anyone who will listen about the Barbie cinematic universe. It was so cool to get to see some of these things come to life with real actors.

Most of all, though, I loved the film’s portrayal of girlhood and all the highs and lows that come with it. Some may say that the film showed these issues in an exaggerated manner, but I would have to disagree. I suppose you don’t really know it unless you’ve experienced it, but the objectification and degradation that come along with being a woman are far too real. 

I still remember the first time I was ever wanted by a boy for just my body — I was in fifth grade. I told my boyfriend of approximately two weeks that I was at my grandparent’s pool, and he had asked to see a picture of me in my bathing suit. I definitely remember far worse things men have said or done to me as I’ve grown older, but that was the first. 

To see these issues on a screen — more importantly, in a movie created by a woman about womanhood — was incredible, though perhaps a little nauseating. The best part, though, was how the film showed you that all of these negative things are not something you go through alone. There will always be a team behind you made up of strong women who care about you. As I looked over to my left, I was so glad to have my team sitting beside me.

Movies really are a great way to bring people together. My advice is, when the opportunity arises, never miss out on a chance to be with the people you love.

All in all, I left the theater so glad to be a woman. My two best friends in the world and I got to see such great movies together, laugh together, eat together and take pictures in parking lots together. This is what girlhood is all about — being together. It’s about watching movies and gossiping on the car rides home. It’s about talking about far too personal stuff in a public restaurant. It’s about all this and more.

“Barbie” was definitely my preferred movie of the two, but both films were crafted with extreme care by their directors and teams. The sound design in both of the films was unmatched, and the acting was equally so. 

If you plan on having the Barbenheimer experience, I would definitely recommend watching “Oppenheimer” first. “Barbie” was a nice pick-me-up after watching a three-hour movie about a mass tragedy. That being said, don’t underestimate the Barbie movie’s ability to touch your heartstrings.

Barbenheimer was a social phenomenon for sure, but more importantly, it was a day in which I got to spend time with some of the best people in the world. Movies really are a great way to bring people together. My advice is, when the opportunity arises, never miss out on a chance to be with the people you love. 

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About the Contributor
Breanna Laws
Breanna Laws, Managing Editor
Breanna is a junior from Wilkes County, N.C. majoring in communication and minoring in journalism and linguistics. Outside of the OGB, she is the vice president of the university poetry club, a member of the Setting the Groove tap club and a student advisor. In their free time, you can find them watching horror movies or making a boba run.

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