Movie Review: Leave the World Behind

A slow-burn apocalyptic puzzle and a mysterious journey into uncertainty.

Movie Review: Leave the World Behind

Netflix's "Leave the World Behind," directed by Sam Esmail, is an intriguing 2023 apocalyptic psychological thriller that delves into the collective psyche of a family trapped in a world abruptly disconnected. Starring Julia Roberts, Mahershala Ali, Ethan Hawke, and Kevin Bacon, the film is based on Rumaan Alam's 2020 novel and paints a haunting picture of a world gradually losing touch with technology and reality.

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️☆☆☆☆

(3 stars)

🌀 Plot: A Descent into the Unknown

The story follows Amanda Sandford, played by Roberts, who takes her family to a Long Island Airbnb for an unplanned getaway. The vacation turns surreal as they encounter a series of unsettling events: no internet, bizarre animal behavior, and unexplained phenomena. The arrival of the homeowners, George H. Scott (G.H.) and his daughter Ruth, escalates the tension, introducing a layer of mistrust and paranoia. The plot thickens with mysterious news alerts, unexplained phenomena, and a series of increasingly bizarre and alarming incidents, including a plane crash, a flock of flamingos appearing in a swimming pool, and the mysterious illness of Amanda's son, Archie.

🐢 Pacing: Slow but Captivating

The film's pacing is deliberately slow, allowing viewers to immerse themselves in the growing unease and confusion of the characters. While sometimes dragging, this leisurely pace effectively builds a sense of mystery and suspense.

🔚 Ending: Abrupt and Open-Ended

The movie culminates in an abrupt, open-ended conclusion, leaving viewers to ponder the fate of the characters and the nature of the catastrophe they face. This ending may be unsatisfying to some, yet it cleverly mirrors the story's theme of uncertainty and the unknown.

📊 Critical Reception: Mixed but Favorable

"Leave the World Behind" received generally positive reviews, with a 75% positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes and a score of 67 out of 100 on Metacritic. Critics praised the performances, especially the cast's ability to convey the story's complex emotions and themes, despite some criticism of the film's pacing and simplistic messaging.

🎬 Our Take: A Thought-Provoking Experience

As a viewer, the film feels like a slow-burning journey into the unknown, effectively capturing the anxiety of a sudden, nationwide threat with limited access to information. The focus on ordinary people's reactions to extraordinary circumstances adds a layer of realism and relatability. Despite its slow moments, the film maintains an air of captivating mystery, making it a worthwhile watch for fans of psychological thrillers.

👁️ Final Thoughts: A Puzzle Worth Solving

"Leave the World Behind" is a film that challenges viewers to embrace the unknown and confront their fears of the unpredictable. It's a thought-provoking piece that lingers in the mind long after the credits roll. This Netflix release may not be for everyone, but it's a puzzle worth solving for those who appreciate a slow-burn, apocalyptic narrative.