“A COMPASSIONATE SPY” from two-time Oscar® nominee Steve James’ is an engrossing story about the nuclear spy, his love story, and an important message to the world

By Oliver Carnay

After watching “OPPENHEIMER” I stumbled upon a title that would be interesting for me to watch — “A COMPASSIONATE SPY,” which is opening in Laemmle Theatres on August 4.

A COMPASSIONATE SPY is an engrossing documentary film directed by two-time Oscar® nominee Steve James’ revealing the twists and turns of this real-life spy story, its profound impact on nuclear history, and the couple’s remarkable love and life together during more than 50 years of marriage.

TED HALL is an 18-year-old Harvard undergraduate to be the youngest physicist who was recruited in 1944 on the Manhattan Project at Los Alamos to help create the atomic bomb. Hall didn’t share his colleagues’ elation after the successful detonation of the world’s first atomic bomb in Japan. Increasingly concerned with Germany clearly losing the war—that a U.S. post-war monopoly on such a powerful weapon could lead to nuclear catastrophe, he decided beginning that October to start passing key information about the bomb’s construction to the Soviet Union. 
After the war, at the University of Chicago, he met and married Joan, a fellow student with whom he shared a passion for classical music and socialist causes — and the explosive secret of his espionage. Living under a cloud of suspicion and years of FBI surveillance and intimidation, the pair raised a family while Ted refocused his scientific brilliance on groundbreaking biophysics research.

Hall, in 1998, a year before his death, confessed about his involvement to having passed nuclear secrets to the Soviets while working on the Manhattan project.