Whether you love him or hate him, President Barack Obama has made history by being the first African-American President of the United States. While he will be leaving his office this January, Netflix is looking into his life before the White House, as we see in the new Barry trailer.
Directed by Vikram Gandhi, the film will look at Obama’s years in law school, specifically 1981, during which time he was attending Columbia University getting his bachelors degree. He struggles with his identity as a bi-racial man, with being one of the few Black students at a prestigious university, as well as trying to figure out what to do with his life. The image we typically see of the current president is one of calm, cool collectedness, so it will be interesting to see a new side of the man.
Devon Terrell will play the young Barack Obama, while Anya Taylor-Joy (The Witch) will play his love interest Charlotte. Ashely Judd will play Obama’s mother Ann Dunham and there’s no word yet as to whether there will be a person playing Michelle LaVaughn Robinson, aka the future Mrs. Obama. The film premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival to generally favorable reviews.
This is likely only going to be the first of many historical films documenting the president’s life. After all, he came up through the 2008 Democratic primaries a charismatic but mostly unknown Senator from Illinois. Bringing with him a sense of youthful energy and hope, he pushed for a lot of social change in the United States. It’ll be interesting to see how these films tackle his legacy, starting with this one. Hopefully, we’ll get films that are more nuanced than the lip-service to this historic presidency, and perhaps a little more insight into his rise to prominence.
Barry debuts on Netflix on December 16, 2016.