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Every Christopher Nolan Movie Ranked by When My Mom Tapped Out Watching Them

With the upcoming release of his latest film Oppenheimer, audiences have reason to re-examine director Christopher Nolan’s filmography to find his true masterpiece. To determine which of Nolan’s films is his magnum opus, I consulted the wisest, most introspective cinephile I know.

Unfortunately, he wasn’t available, so I showed them to my mom Lorraine Brazile instead.

This is every Christopher Nolan movie ranked by when in the movie my mom’s eyes glazed over and she tapped out. 

#10 — Tenet

(Tap-Out Point: 0 Minutes)

Nope. Not even going to bother. I just put on A League of Their Own instead. 

#9 — Inception

(Tap-Out Point: 20 Minutes)

While my mom does think Leonardo DiCaprio is “A Cutie Pie,” that’s not enough to handle Nolan’s dense dream heist movie. Even though it’s a movie that is 90% explaining, my mom understandably has questions. What’s Marion Cotillard’s deal? What’s with the top? My mom calls it quits after the first set piece when they explain that you can steal something in people’s mind but also you can put something into it instead except it can’t be done except it can.

#8 — Memento
(Tap-Out Point: 30 Minutes)

Believe it or not, a neo-noir with two temporalities, multiple false identities, an unreliable narrator, and memory loss told in completely reverse order except for some parts only lasts thirty minutes before my mom reaches for Candy Crush

#7 — Interstellar
(Tap-Out Point: 35 Minutes)

Even previous People’s Sexiest Man Alive Matthew McConaughey can’t save my mom from tapping out when they start explaining time dilation and wormholes. Even if she made it past all that, McConaughey floating and flying around a bookcase that is both in space and in the past would’ve just made her upset. 

#6 — The Dark Knight Rises
(Tap-Out Point: 1 Hour)

While the plot isn’t overly complicated and there’s nothing confusing or difficult, my mom turns this movie off for a general disinterest in Anne Hathaway

#5 — Batman Begins
(Tap-Out Point: 65 Minutes)

My mom taps out one hour into this movie after asking me six times when the Joker is going to show up

#4 — The Prestige
(Tap-Out Point: 80 Minutes)

While my mom likes Hugh Jackman, there’s both a part in the grounded period piece where suddenly David Bowie shows up and makes a cloning machine. That said, my mom taps out during the lengthy sequence where Hugh Jackman hatches an elaborate plan to steal Christian Bale’s encrypted diary while Christian Bale hatches an elaborate plot to steal Hugh Jackman’s encrypted diary and both read each other’s diaries only to find out they both wanted the other person to steal their diary and filled it with lies and red herrings for no reason. 

#3 — The Dark Knight
(Tap-Out Point: 2 Hours)

I have a vivid memory of both of my parents seeing this movie on a date and genuinely enjoying it, although on rewatches my mom taps out from sheer length and exhaustion when the two ferry bombs are introduced to watch 90 Day Fiancé instead. 

#2 — Following

My mom makes it through this one. It’s a solid calling-card movie that shows Nolan knows where to put the camera. Perhaps the best endorsement of this simple, short test film is that my mom never once reached for Candy Crush during its 70 minute runtime. 

#1 — Insomnia


My mom felt like Robin Williams only has like four funny jokes in this movie, but she sympathizes with Al Pacino’s character as someone who also struggles with insomnia whenever my dad snores really loud.  

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