Before he became the Commander-in-Chief, Barack Obama was a New York college student named Barry. As his second term draws to a close, Netflix is readying Vikram Gandhi’s timely biopic for release on December 16, and today brings forth a closer look at Gandhi’s portrait of the outgoing president.
Whereas Southside With You chronicled the formative years of Obama’s relationship with Michelle Robinson, Barry rolls back the years to 1981, at a time when the would-be POTUS enrolled in Columbia University. A budding junior with lofty ambitions, this latest Netflix original chronicles Obama’s formative relationships and friendships, with many unfolding within a “crime-ridden and racially charged environment.”
Indeed, we’ve already caught a glimpse of Aussie actor Devon Terrell in the title role via previous teasers but here, Terrell commands the screen, delivering a performance that captures the rousing voice and even mannerisms of Barack Obama remarkably well. Hopefully that shines through across the entirety of Barry, where Terrell will be joined by The Witch breakout Anya Taylor-Joy, Jason Mitchell, Ellar Coltrane, Ashley Judd, and Jenna Elfman.
Featuring a script penned by Adam Mansbach, Netflix sums up its imminent biopic as so:
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 drops via Netflix on December 16, and will act as a welcome primer ahead of Barack Obama’s final day in office on January 19, 2017.