“Leave the World Behind” (2023): Netflix’s Gripping Apocalyptic Thriller with a Modern Twist

Released on Netflix in late 2023, “Leave the World Behind” features actors Julia Roberts and Ethan Hawke, playing parents in the apocalyptic thriller as Amanda and Clay. The two seek a break from their busy lives for themselves and their children, Rose (Farrah Mackenzie) and Archer (Charlie Evans). They hop on the chance to stay out in the country. Things appear normal at first. However, during their stay, they run into the house owner, George (Mahershala Ali), and his daughter, Ruth (Myha’la Herrold).

Poster for Netflix’s movie “Leave the World Behind” (2023).

The unconventional group starts to experience strange things while residing under the same roof–internet service is nonexistent, oil ships are beaching themselves, and planes are falling from the sky. Nature starts to take over, and wild animals–such as deer and flamingos–stand as reminders of the eventual doom to come. The movie follows certain apocalyptic cliches but in a way that relates to the modern age of technology and desensitization.

The cast of characters was performed wonderfully and convincingly by a range of actors. Spectacular performances done by Julia Roberts especially showed the complexities of a caring yet distrusting woman. Ali’s character, George, was a convincing authoritative figure and father, as well as Kevin Bacon’s brief character appearance in survivalist/contractor Danny.

Although the soundtrack was sometimes distracting, with cheesy violin strings and loud, suspenseful piano riffs, it was a decent spin on a classic cautionary tale. Overall, the film did a decent job of conveying the importance of separation between technology and humanity–recounting the dangers of relying too heavily on technology and social media.