Netflix Buys Film About Young Barack Obama

Barack Obama

As President Barack Obama winds down his time in the White House, it seems like Hollywood is gearing up to bring parts of his life to the big screen. Recently, John Legend produced Southside With You, a film about Barack and Michelle Obama’s first date, and now Netflix is bringing another aspect of his story to viewers.

After its screening at the Toronto International Film Festival, the streaming giant bought the rights to Barry, a film about President Obama’s time at Columbia University.

Here’s how TIFF described the film:

Twenty-year-old Barry (Devon Terrell) arrives in a New York City where turf wars pervade every milieu, from the basketball courts to the university campus where he is bullied by police on his first night. He starts dating a white woman from his political science class. He attends a party in a Harlem housing project. With his Kenyan father and Kansas-born mother, Barry should be able to slip between racially coded camps. Instead, he feels like he doesn’t belong anywhere.

Rather than hammer home its themes of racial tension and ambivalence, Barryimmerses us in its protagonist’s experience. Adam Mansbach’s script and Vikram Gandhi’s direction consistently show rather than tell. And Terrell lets us see Barry’s inner frustration mounting — even as the young man learns to exercise the external neutrality that will prove so useful later in his life.

The film stars Australian actor Devon Terrell as a young Barack Obama, as well as Anya Taylor-Joy, Jason Mitchell, Ellar Coltrane, Ashley Judd, and Jenna Elfman.