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LEAVE THE WORLD BEHIND

"Well-Made Thriller of Racial Reconciliation, but Marred"

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What You Need To Know:

LEAVE THE WORLD BEHIND is a thriller in theaters and on Netflix. Amanda and Clay are happily married, with two teenage children, but the stress of New York City is getting to Amanda. The family escapes to a lavish Long Island rental home for a weekend of peaceful relaxation. Their solitude is short-lived when a cyberattack knocks out wifi, then electricity. Late at night, a black man named George arrives in a tux with his adult daughter, begging to enter the house. George says he owns the house but left his ID in the city. Clay admits them, but can the two families see past their racial differences to survive?

LEAVE THE WORLD BEHIND has received backlash because Barack Obama and his wife are executive producers. However, the movie’s situations are original and incredibly well-shot, with stunning visual effects. Also, the performances are excellent. LEAVE THE WORLD BEHIND tells a tense, captivating story of racial reconciliation. The ending is strange, but hopeful. However, LEAVE THE WORLD BEHIND has lots of strong, unnecessary foul language and brief immoral behavior. MOVIEGUIDE® advises extreme caution.

Content:

(BB, PC, LLL, VV, S, A, D, M)

Dominant Worldview and Other Worldview Content/Elements:
Strong moral worldview promoting racial reconciliation, but at first the black and white lead characters distrust and resent each other, with it implied the white family has condescending attitudes, and young black woman says there should be no real trusting of whites, but as terrifying events unfold they all come together in common humanity, and an implied redneck white man pulls a gun on two other men, so there’s some light politically correct content, but the movie seems to undercut it

Foul Language:
At least 48 obscenities (including 37 “f” with one in sexual context, two JC profanities, one GD profanity, three light profanities

Violence:
Scary violence includes an enormous oil tanker runs aground on a beach as dozens of terrified people run for their lives, a jet careens out of the sky and crash lands as one of the main characters runs from it and hides in a building as mass amounts of dirt come flying in from the crash site, hundreds of Tesla cars are seen blocking the road after they crash following the cyberattack that is the movie’s impetus, a woman has to frantically dodge them while driving her family to safety, a large herd of deer surround a preteen girl and appear menacing until the girl and her mom try to frighten them away, a teenage boy pulls several large teeth from his bleeding mouth in a very disturbing scene, then vomits a big pool of blood on a carpet (the vomit is seen from above from another floor, not in closeup), a man angrily threatens two other men with a loaded shotgun, while refusing to help save one of their children, but the gun-wielding man eventually helps after being handed $1000

Sex:
A teenage boy abuses himself under his bed covers, two people who are married to others dance together and almost kiss but stop when they recognize that they’re happily married and want to avoid adultery

Nudity:
No nudity

Alcohol Use:
Casual social alcohol drinking in two or more scenes

Smoking and/or Drug Use and Abuse:
Smoking, no drugs; and,

Miscellaneous Immorality:
Several scenes of animals running or flying in strange patterns are disturbing, man races his car to get away from what looks like a red tornado, but it turns out the red are thousands of paper cards with an Arabic

More Detail:

The Netflix mystery/thriller LEAVE THE WORLD BEHIND did a very limited theatrical run in Los Angeles and New York, but it’s a hot ticket on Netflix’s streaming service, not only because it has a highly acclaimed quartet of award-caliber stars heading the cast, but also because it’s the first fictional feature movie produced by Barack and Michelle Obama. As such, it’s drawing lots of debate about its racial messaging, but viewers who give the movie a real chance will wind up seeing a positive portrayal of people putting away their racial biases to come together and help each other survive a life-threatening crisis.

Amanda (Julia Roberts) and Clay (Ethan Hawke) are a happily married couple with two teenage children named Rose and Archie, but the stress of living amid the teeming metropolis of New York City is wearing Amanda down. She finds a lavish vacation home on Air BnB and takes her family on a surprise trip for a weekend of peaceful relaxation near a forest.

The family’s solitude is short-lived, however. A major cyberattack on America knocks out wifi and puts New York City into a blackout. Late at night, a black man named George (Mahershala Ali) shows up in a tux alongside his adult daughter, Ruth, begging to be let in as they flee the blackout. George claims he is the owner of the house, but when Clay asks for his ID, he claims he left it amid the chaos in New York City.

However, seeing the father and daughter appear well-dressed and knowing it’s a terrifying world outside, Amanda and Clay warily welcome them in and have George and Ruth stay in a basement

guest room. While Amanda’s fears are natural to anyone in that kind of situation, it’s subtly implied she’s also scared of George and Ruth partly because they’re black, while Ruth privately tells George that if calamity occurs, white people shouldn’t be trusted.

Ruth’s expressed attitude has drawn heavy criticism from some in conservative media, but the movie is surprisingly un-woke and becomes powerfully positive as the story progresses. As the two families try to figure out how bad the world outside is crashing, all sorts of strange and scary occurrences befall them. For example, an oil tanker rams into a beach where they and dozens of other people were sitting, and a jet plane careens out of the sky and crash lands right behind one of the lead characters.

Add in very bizarre behavior by a wide range of animals, ear-piercing noises that maddeningly appear out of nowhere, and hundreds of unmanned Teslas wreaking havoc on a freeway, and you’ve got a movie that’s always edge-of-your-seat riveting to watch. Some of the strangest events’ logic seems off, but the situations are original and incredibly well-shot with stunning visual effects, and the movie’s tense ride to an uncertain solution winds up working perfectly.

The proceedings are helped immensely by the Oscar-winning Julia Roberts and Mahershala Ali, the Oscar-nominated Ethan Hawke and Golden Globe-winning Kevin Bacon, who has a smaller but important role as a doomsday prepper who must be won over in order to save the life of one of Amanda’s teenagers. This is top-notch filmmaking from top to bottom.

Be warned, however, that some viewers may find the movie’s strange last scene frustrating, but the final moments give a sense of hope for the future and show how entertainment provides comfort in the worst of times.

Aside from its frequent fright-filled moments, the movie is marred by excessive foul language including nearly 40 “f” words, several strong profanities and some other, milder examples. The movie also has brief, light sexual references.

Yet, amid our tension-filled present-day world, LEAVE THE WORLD BEHIND serves up an intelligent script with a heartfelt vision of racial reconciliation. So, in the end, the movie provides some excellent viewing for some, but extreme caution is advised.

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Our small team works tirelessly to provide resources to protect families from harmful media, reviewing 415 movies/shows and writing 3,626 uplifting articles this year. We believe that the gospel can transform entertainment. That’s why we emphasize positive and faith-filled articles and entertainment news, and release hundreds of Christian movie reviews to the public, for free. No paywalls, just trusted, biblically sound content to bless you and your family. Online, Movieguide is the closest thing to a biblical entertainment expert at your fingertips. As a reader-funded operation, we welcome any and all contributions – so if you can, please give something. It won’t take more than 52 seconds (we timed it for you). Thank you.

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4000+ Faith Based Articles and Movie Reviews – Will you Support Us?

Our small team works tirelessly to provide resources to protect families from harmful media, reviewing 415 movies/shows and writing 3,626 uplifting articles this year. We believe that the gospel can transform entertainment. That’s why we emphasize positive and faith-filled articles and entertainment news, and release hundreds of Christian movie reviews to the public, for free. No paywalls, just trusted, biblically sound content to bless you and your family. Online, Movieguide is the closest thing to a biblical entertainment expert at your fingertips. As a reader-funded operation, we welcome any and all contributions – so if you can, please give something. It won’t take more than 52 seconds (we timed it for you). Thank you.