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Barack Obama Produced Netflix’s Doomsday Film ‘Leave the World Behind’


Social media users are questioning the meaning behind Netflix’s doomsday thriller “Leave the World Behind.”

The movie was produced by Barack and Michelle Obama’s Higher Ground Productions company.

Leave the World Behind is based on Rumaan Alam’s original novel of the same name, about an apocalyptic cyberattack in the United States.

Leave the World Behind stars Julia Roberts, Mahershala Ali, Ethan Hawke, and Kevin Bacon.

Julia and Ethan play Amanda and Clay, a white suburban couple who rent a luxurious vacation house for a weekend getaway with their children. The plot takes an ominous turn when a cyberattack knocks out their devices, and two strangers appear at their door.

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Screengrab/Netflix

The strangers are the homeowner G.H. Scott (Mahershala Ali) and his daughter Ruth Scott (Myha’la) who have fled an unprecedented blackout in the city.

They all take refuge inside the home as eerie sonic booms shatter the night, and animals strike curious poses in the countryside.

Viewers are left frustrated, as nothing is fully explained in the film. For example, a herd of deer become a frightening presence, encircling the home and menacing the two families.

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Netflix

A large buck is prominent on one of the movie’s posters.

But the film ends without explaining the meaning behind the deer’s presence or their purpose. The movie’s open-ended conclusion is a source of frustration for Reddit.com users.

Director Sam Esmail attempted to explain the meaning in a conversation with GQ magazine.

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Screengrab/Netflix

“There was something really ominous about the deer,” Esmail said, “they’re in the book and I expanded on it, because I thought the imagery was so striking.”

He added: “You know, I can sit here and talk metaphorically about how [the deer] represent this idea of nature, as a warning sign about what we’re going through, and how our tech is blinding us to it. But there’s also just a tonal quality about how nightmarish this scenario has become.”

Esmail emphasized that Leave the World Behind is a cautionary tale about our reliance on technology.

There’s also a confusing subplot that suggests infidelity between Amanda (Roberts) and G.H. Scott (Ali).

AFP via Getty Images

Former U.S. President Barack Obama was fully hands on in the production. Higher Grounds Productions was founded in 2018 by Barack and former First Lady Michelle Obama. They signed a multi-year deal with Netflix to produce scripted and unscripted film and television projects.

Obama wrote many notes to the director Sam Esmail during the film’s shoot.

Esmail said Obama was a sounding board for the geopolitical and environmental elements of the plot.

“I mean, first and foremost, he’s a huge movie lover. It really was about how we could tell the best story, and what would feel the most cinematic. It was always impressive to me. You could tell he was a real fan. And that was the spirit with which the notes came through.”

One Reddit user theorized that the Obamas portrayed G.H. Scott as a single father to symbolize the lack of strong Black father figures, which has a negative effect on the environment.
 

 

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