Why Americans Can’t Stop Talking About “Leave the World Behind”

Why Americans Can't Stop Talking About "Leave the World Behind"

One of the latest apocalyptic movies was recently released on Netflix. Leave the World Behind has already gotten viewers buzzing about an end-of-world scenario.

The COVID-19 pandemic of 2020 was enough for many book readers to turn to apocalyptic books that show end-of-world scenarios. This new movie is based on a book published during the pandemic-stricken year in which many families felt the impact of the coronavirus while medical experts worked to find solutions to this global problem. The book leaves an uneasy feeling at the end, and the movie does something similar but in a different way.

A start-studded cast

For many years, Julia Roberts has delighted us on the big screen, and this new movie is another example of her acting brilliance. Costarred by Ethan Hawke, this dynamic acting duo portrays the main characters of Amanda and Clay Sanford. In this movie version, the couple lives comfortably in a Brooklyn home but wants to get away from the city for a while and enjoy some time in the country. This prompts them to rent a house in the country and “leave the world behind” as it is, which turns out to be a smart and timely choice.

The challenge of an Air BnB shows up in this Netflix film

Many of us have turned to home rental sites such as Air BnB and Vrbo to rent people’s homes while they are away on vacation or in a different home for a season. The Sanfords get to the rental house and head to the beach but find something extremely disturbing there. This event sends them back to the house to shake it off, but it’s not long until a man and his daughter, claiming the house belongs to them, show up. This man and daughter inform the Sanfords there’s a blackout in the city, which means they need to take shelter with the vacationing family.

What is the apocalyptic event in this film?

Some end-of-world movies tell us exactly what causes the end, but many try to leave the events leading the apocalypse up to the audience. Unfortunately, visual media makes this much more difficult than what can be done in books through storytelling. In this movie, several possibilities for the world’s end are presented. Some of these include class divisions, conspiracy theorists, and survivalists, all talking about their viewpoints and what makes another group wrong. In a nutshell, the underlying reason for an apocalypse in this story could simply be the dysfunctional hatred many people feel toward each other.

Although the film doesn’t give us the specific reason for the coming apocalypse, Leave the World Behind goes through a bulleted list of everything wrong with America as a whole. If you can remember back just a few years and much of what 2020 was about, the coronavirus was simply the beginning of an extremely divisive and troublesome year for most people. The number of items hurling at the audience makes it seem like there should be something in there that every group can agree with, but certainly not the entire movie.

Who controls the narrative?

For the past few years, many Americans have argued about the validity of sources, which media outlet is right or wrong, and who controls the narrative. The divisive nature of many of these arguments is portrayed in the film, which shows that most people aren’t really in charge or controlling much of anything. Although Leave the World Behind could have been more of a horror film or created much more conflict, some of the signals about the story appear early on, making it easy to see a connection.

The cast is headlined by an obviously attractive couple, which seems out of place in this movie but doesn’t take away from the story. This story could certainly be scarier and possibly lead us toward the horror genre, but that doesn’t happen. Instead, we’re left with some strange idea that the world left behind will be something completely unexpected.

An odd ending to an apocalyptic movie

Although most of the world has moved away from DVDs as a form of physical media, the ending of Leave the World Behind shows these laser-imprinted discs could be all that survives the world. As the internet goes down, people are wiped off the planet, and all beauty is gone, DVDs could survive. Maybe this is a Netflix punchline that signals a return to DVD rentals via mail, which is how this streaming service began.

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