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New Movie Obamas Helped Make Raises Eyebrows: ‘Don’t Trust White People’

New Movie Obamas Helped Make Raises Eyebrows: ‘Don’t Trust White People’

It’s good to see that, almost seven years after they left the White House for good, Barack and Michelle Obama, can keep dividing America like no other.

Among the many pies that the former president and first lady have their fingers in, as you may have heard, is a production deal with streaming service Netflix.

This includes executive production credits on everything from “Becoming” — a documentary/hagiography about Michelle — to an attempt at a woke version of the 1970s educational series “Schoolhouse Rock” called “We the People.”

(“Schoolhouse Rock” — with its catchy lyrics and hokey animation has an audience rating of 8.2 out of 10, according to its International Movie Database page. “We the People,” meanwhile, has only a 4.3/10 rating on its IMdB page — proof that maybe Americans still prefer reliable, fun ways of imparting knowledge to newfangled revisionist reinterpretations).

But it’s the Obamas’ plunge into fictional filmmaking, with a project called “Leave the World Behind,” that has the country talking — and divided, again.

The former first couple’s attempt at playing dime-store Robert Evanses is an apocalyptic flick that looks like a cheap, streaming-service ripoff of an M. Night Shyamalan movie. Considering that Shyamalan’s movies already play like streaming-service ripoffs these days, this is seldom a good sign.

(The movie is based on a 2020 novel by the same name by Rumaan Alam, who describes himself on his GoodReads biography page as a man who “studied writing at Oberlin College. Now I live in New York with my husband and two kids.” Oberlin College is seldom a good sign either.)

The Netflix trailer lays out the plot: Rich, white family rents a mansion in the middle of nowhere, but somewhere near New York City. The black family that owns it shows up unexpectedly with word that chaos is engulfing the city and the world as cyberattacks disable all of their devices, etc., etc. Who can be trusted?

The trailer, for your consideration:

You’ve seen this movie a million times before even if you haven’t seen it. Think “Dr. Strangelove” combined with “Get Out,” then subtract everything original and/or of ostensible value and this is what you get.

The diminishing career returns of Julia Roberts and Ethan Hawke continue apace, and if you’re looking for a new shortcut while playing “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon,” keep in mind he’s in the movie, too.

There’s a ham-fisted twist ending that strives to Make a Very Important Point™.

I won’t spoil it for you, but if you want to spoil it for yourselves, here’s a link to the entertainment outlet ScreenRant explaining it in detail.

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Critics seemed to like it, with a 75 percent “fresh” rating on critical aggregator Rotten Tomatoes:

“An exceptionally well-acted apocalyptic thriller, ‘Leave the World Behind’ steadily draws the viewer in despite its leisurely pace and somewhat simplistic messaging,” the site’s “critics consensus” blurb reads. So I guess they all got the memo that Barack and Michelle were involved and they all had to politely golf-clap, lest they be seen as political reactionaries.

Anyhow, that twist ending or the critical acclaim isn’t what’s drawing attention on social media. Instead, it’s a scene where two of the characters, the black father and daughter who own the property, talk about the impending apocalypse.

“If the world falls apart, trust should not be doled out easily to anyone,” the daughter tells the father in the scene. “Especially white people.”

Now, to be fair, neither Obama has a screenwriting credit for this. Director Sam Esmail wrote the script from Alam’s book. I’ve not watched the full movie nor read the Alam novel, although a negative review in New York Magazine’s Vulture by Bilge Ebiri indicated the screenplay deviated significantly from the original work.

Whatever the case may be, you may just think this is woke Hollywood being woke Hollywood. Yes, but most films — be they for the cinema or direct-to-streaming — don’t have a former president and first lady’s names as producers.

This, combined with the material itself, gave rise to negative reactions.

Perhaps Elon Musk, the billionaire CEO of Tesla and Space X, and owner of the social media platform X, had the best question:

“Is this for real?” he wrote.

But he wasn’t the only one.

Others just simply didn’t like it:

And yet, people are watching. According to FlixPatrol, a site that ranks streaming content, the film is the No. 1 movie on the streaming platform as of Tuesday morning. To be fair, it sits atop a list of anemic new releases and/or Christmas films, along with two “Fast and the Furious” movies. (Insert your own “family” joke here.)

The point is, given the exposure this film is getting and the fact a former president and his wife — both with a penchant for divisive rhetoric — have producers’ credits, wouldn’t you think it would be a good idea for their people to, I dunno, scan the script for lines bashing “white people?”

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After all, when two politically important figures are connected with a movie, whatever it says is going to be amplified and attributed to them.

At the very least, it’s a failure of due diligence. The scarier prospect is that the Obamas’ people did that due diligence and found nothing wrong with this whatsoever.


This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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