Leave the World Behind: Release date, cast, plot, and everything to know about the psychological thriller

Leave the World Behind still
Leave the World Behind still (Image via. Netflix)

Leave the World Behind is Netflix’s next big project, and Netflix is taking it so seriously that the movie will be released theatrically for a limited time just to qualify for the Oscars.

Based on Rumaan Alam’s book of the same name, the bidding war for this movie started way before the book was even released. According to Deadline, Netflix snatched the victory from other production giants like Apple and MGM. Sam Esmail of Mr. Robot fame is directing the project, so the anticipation is already high.

Not just that, lately, most of Netflix’s success stories have been adaptations from books. Be it the recently released Wes Anderson film series on Roald Dahl’s books that has been topping the charts as well as getting critical acclaim, or titles like Virgin River, Heartstopper, Lockwood & Co., and The Chosen One, all of Netflix’s major successes seem to be adaptations.

With big names behind the cast, like Julia Roberts, Mahershala Ali, and Ethan Hawke, Leave the World Behind has already made the audience pretty riled up. There is already a teaser trailer for the movie, as below:


Leave the World Behind will have a limited theatrical release on November 22, and then it will premiere on Netflix on December 8, 2023.

Leave the World Behind: The Barack and Michelle Obama-approved movie is making all the noise even before its release

The movie has not been released yet, but it already has the support and seal of approval of the former P.O.T.U.S. and First Lady. They have joined the team as executive producers alongside Tonia Davis, Daniel M. Stillman, and Nick Krishnamurthy.

In a recent September interview with Vanity Fair, Esmail opened up about the involvement of the former POTUS and First Lady:

“In the original drafts of the script, I definitely pushed things a lot farther than they were in the film, and President Obama, having the experience he does have, was able to ground me a little bit on how things might unfold in reality.”

Esmail went on:

“I am writing what I think is fiction, for the most part, I’m trying to keep it as true to life as possible, but I’m exaggerating and dramatizing. And to hear an ex-president say you’re off by a few details… I thought I was off by a lot! The fact that he said that scared the f*ck out of me.”

The filmmaker added:

“He had a lot of notes about the characters and the empathy we would have for them. I have to say he is a big movie lover, and he wasn’t just giving notes about things that were from his background. He was giving notes as a fan of the book, and he wanted to see a really good film.”

Leave the World Behind plot: What’s it about?

According to the official synopsis of Leave the World Behind, the plot goes like:

“In this apocalyptic thriller from award-winning writer and director Sam Esmail, Amanda and her husband Clay rent a luxurious home for the weekend with their kids, Archie and Rose. Their vacation is soon upended when two strangers – G.H. and his daughter Ruth – arrive in the night, bearing news of a mysterious cyberattack and seeking refuge in the house they claim is theirs.”

The synopsis continued:

“The two families reckon with a looming disaster that grows more terrifying by the minute, forcing everyone to come to terms with their places in a collapsing world.”

However, it is much more than just any apocalyptic-style survival film. Leave the World Behind delves much deeper into serious issues like race, subtle prejudice, and discrimination. In the book, the character of Amanda has trouble believing how two black people can own such an expensive AirBnB.

The character of Amanda is delicately complex and shows a seemingly liberal woman finding out her own prejudices in the worst possible time frame.

The cast of Leave the World Behind

Mahershala Ali as G.H. Scott (Image via. Netflix)
Mahershala Ali as G.H. Scott (Image via. Netflix)

Leave the World Behind has had one of the most star-studded casts of Netflix productions recently. The cast of Leave the World Behind includes:

  • Julia Roberts as Amanda Sandford
  • Mahershala Ali as G.H. Scott
  • Ethan Hawke as Clay Sandford
  • Kevin Bacon as Danny
  • Myha’la Herrold as Ruth Scott
  • Farrah Mackenzie as Rose Sandford
  • Charlie Evans as Archie Sandford

Leave the World Behind will have a limited theatrical release on November 22, 2023, and it will go on Netflix on December 8, 2023.

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Edited by Somava