In a captivating new Netflix thriller, Hollywood icons Julia Roberts and Mahershala Ali, along with Ethan Hawke, confront a world teetering on the brink of apocalyptic chaos. Executive produced by former U.S. President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle Obama, “Leave the World Behind” is poised to deliver a suspense-filled narrative that explores the human psyche in the face of uncertainty.
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Set in the tranquil backdrop of Long Island, the film introduces us to a seemingly idyllic family vacation. Julia Roberts and Ethan Hawke portray a couple who, along with their children, seek refuge from the rigors of daily life in a luxurious Long Island home. Yet, as the sun sets on their weekend getaway, an unexpected and sinister twist unfolds.
Mahershala Ali, in a riveting performance, assumes the role of the enigmatic homeowner. He arrives at the vacation home in the dead of night, his daughter portrayed by Myha’la Herrold in tow. The reason behind their appearance remains shrouded in mystery, and the outside world appears to be descending into chaos. The film’s central intrigue lies not solely in the external threats but in the tensions that emerge within the confines of the home.
As fear and uncertainty grip the characters, “Leave the World Behind” poses a chilling question: will these two families unite to survive the impending doom, or will they succumb to paranoia and turn against one another?
Adding depth to the ensemble cast, Kevin Bacon assumes the role of a conspiracy-obsessed construction worker. Farrah Mackenzie and Charlie Evans complete the lineup as the children of Roberts and Hawke’s characters, adding youthful innocence to the unfolding drama.
“Leave the World Behind” is a significant departure for Higher Ground Productions, the Obamas’ production company, which previously focused on children’s programs, documentaries, and historical dramas. However, this venture into suspenseful fiction is far from arbitrary. The film is adapted from Rumaan Alam’s 2020 novel, with the screenplay crafted by Sam Esmail, the creative genius behind “Mr. Robot.” The endorsement of Alam’s novel by former President Obama, who included it on his 2021 summer reading list, adds to the movie’s intrigue.
Director Sam Esmail offers insight into the film’s thematic underpinnings, saying, “Having gone through the pandemic, and then the take-your-pick of any number of other disaster-related events like climate change, and the heat wave that we just experienced over the summer, it is the unknown — and the fear of it — that we try to capture in this film.”
“Leave the World Behind” is set to make its debut on November 22, offering a tantalizing taste of suspense and psychological drama. For those unable to catch it in theaters, the film will be available for streaming on Netflix starting December 8. As the date approaches, audiences can anticipate a riveting exploration of human nature and the struggle for survival in the face of the unknown.