Two months ago, Richard Tanne’s poignant drama Southside With You chronicled the formative years of Barack Obama and his relationship with budding lawyer Michelle Robinson, who would later go on to become the First Lady of the United States. With Barry, Netflix is primed to turn back the clock further still, focusing on Obama’s life at Columbia University circa 1981.
Following a premiere at TIFF earlier in the year, the online streamer has now rolled out the first trailer for the upcoming biopic, placing Devon Terrell in the role of the future POTUS. Vikram Gandhi is the director behind the lens, and this simple, stylish teaser captures the spirit of Obama’s college years without so much as a single line of dialogue. All in all, it’s a provocative peek into the archives, as Barry tackles issues of crime, a fractured nuclear family and racial discrimination just as he’s making the first steps into adult life.
Also starring The Witch breakout Anya Taylor-Joy, Jason Mitchell, Ellar Coltrane, Ashley Judd, and Jenna Elfman, Adam Mansbach is the screenwriter behind Barry, and you can find a more comprehensive overview of Netflix’s latest original project, below.
A young Barack Obama, known to his friends as “Barry,” arrives in New York City in the fall of 1981 to begin his junior year at Columbia University. In a crime-ridden and racially charged environment, Barry 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. Barry is the story of a young man grappling with those same issues that his country, and arguably the world, are still coming to terms with 35 years later.
Barry premieres on December 16, acting as a welcome primer ahead of Barack Obama’s final day in office on January 19, 2017.