Fat Man and Little Boy

Movie review by Barbara Shulgasser-Parker, Common Sense Media
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Common Sense says

age 13+

Drama about development of atomic bomb; violence, language.

PG-13 1989 127 minutes

Parents say

age 12+

Based on 1 review

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Community Reviews

age 12+

Fat Man and Little Boy: Pretty Good, But Imperfect

World War II and the ongoing versions of the Cold War are always a dicey subject, the development of nuclear weapons even more. The film is a pretty good portrayal of how the Allies, all grossly imperfect, had to race the clock and the Axis to develop the first nuclear weapons. There is very little moral discourse in the film, just like in real life. There were rumours of Axis genocide as early as 1940 and the destruction of soft targets was shown in newspapers and newsreels of the day. War is a race to the bottom if you want to come out on top. The pace of the film is uneven, and the presentation is choppy, but this is a huge story stuffed into 2 hours. For a comparison, the PBS production "Oppenheimer" in the 1980s was about 10 hours and also had its own pacing and continuity issues. Newman and Schultz do a pretty good job of portraying two egotistical tough guys who needed to get down to the real business at hand--building The Bomb before Hitler rolled down Pennsylvania Avenue. Most of the performances were average with the exception of John Cusack who plays a composite character representing scientists killed by the partial detonation (excursion) of a bomb core. Cusack's character portrays the humanity and courage of the men and women of the Manhattan Project. Just as in real life, Cusack pulls the reacting nuclear core apart with his bare hands to save his co-workers, thus condemning himself to death. Not a perfect film, but a better presentation of the conflicts and dangers faced in developing The Bomb.

This title has:

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