With Barack Obama in the final days of his two-term presidency, the nation is in a quarrelsome, divided place that shows no sign of stabilizing anytime soon. With Americans so bitterly divided, the hope for unity that Obama preached so often — whether you think he succeeded in promoting it or not — seems vanishingly distant. Into this turbulent moment comes Barry, the new Netflix original film that looks at the early years of the man destined to become the first African-American President of the United States.
Netflix has dropped a new trailer for Barry that makes it look like must-see appointment viewing. Check it out.
Directed by Vikram Gandhi, Barry stars Devon Terrell as young Barack Obama, during his years as a college student in New York City. The film screened to much acclaim at the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival, and it’s set to premiere on Netflix on December 16. Adam Mansbach wrote the screenplay (as well as the off-kilter children’s book Go the Fuck to Sleep), and the cast also includes Anya Taylor-Joy, Jason Mitchell, Ashley Judd, Jenna Elfman, Ellar Coltrane, Avi Nash, and Linus Roache. Here’s the official synopsis from Netflix:
A young Barack Obama, known to his friends as “Barry,” arrives in New York City in the fall of 1981 to begin his junior year at Columbia University. In a crime-ridden and racially charged environment, Barry finds himself pulled between various social spheres and struggles to maintain a series of increasingly strained relationships with his Kansas-born mother, his estranged Kenyan father, and his classmates.Barry is the story of a young man grappling with those same issues that his country, and arguably the world, are still coming to terms with 35 years later.
Barry is actually Devon Terrell’s first screen credit, so kudos to that dude. Hard to imagine landing a meatier role than the POTUS — especially this POTUS, especially at this point in our nation’s history. And indeed, his performance is already being singled out for praise by critics as the flick generates early Oscar buzz. It’s currently sitting at a solid 86% Fresh on the review aggregation site Rotten Tomatoes.
Barry is actually the second film about President Obama to release this year. The romcom Southside With You hit theaters this past August, helmed by writer/director Richard Tanne and focused on the courtship between Barack and Michelle. That relationship obviously worked out okay for the two of them…
Barry debuts on Netflix on December 16, 2016.