Now that Barack Obama’s presidency is almost over, filmmakers are eager to look back on the years that shaped one of our country’s greatest leaders. The first was Richard Tanne, whose Southside With You was an intimate pas de deux between Barack and Michelle on their very first date.
The second is Vikram Gandhi, whose film Barry reaches even further back into Obama’s youth, when he was a junior at Columbia University in 1981 and known simply as Barry. While the first teaser of the upcoming Netflix original doesn’t give us much to go on, we do get our first glimpse at newcomer Devon Terrell as the young Obama. According to the official logline, Barry follows our future president as he "finds himself pulled between various social spheres and struggles to maintain a series of increasingly strained relationships with his Kansas-born mother, his estranged Kenyan father, and his classmates."
In other words, Barry is a portrait of a young man trying to find his place in a world that may not have room for him. The film drew raves after its September premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival, for the way in which it subverted traditional biopic tropes and delivered a realistic glimpse into what life was like for a black college student in 1980s New York City.
"The film is rooted in the murky, drifting, sleep-late-and-get-stoned-and-do-whatever nature of college life that the movies almost never get right," writes Variety’s Owen Glieberman. "This one does, and that’s one reason it feels bracingly authentic."
Barry also stars Anya Taylor-Joy, Ashley Judd, Jenna Elfman, Ellar Coltrane, and Jason Mitchell. It’ll be available on Netflix on December 16. Watch the trailer above.