Barry, Netflix’s Barack Obama film, is one of the most interesting biographical films of the year. The film depicts the future President’s college years as a coming of age story about accepting oneself and finding a community, serving as a breakout for Devon Terell. What makes the film work so well isn’t the fact that it’s about Obama, but that the film makes this young man a compelling character outside of that fact.
Devon Terell stars as Obama, creating an instantly charismatic and likable character. The film delves into Obama’s struggle, be it with race, culture, education, or his parents, and makes a character that is endearing and relatable. The core of the film follows Obama’s relationship with Charlotte (Anya Taylor Joy), a wealthy white college student, and their chemistry is brilliant. Anya Taylor Joy is a revelation, and her character offers a different window into the psychology of our President.
Barry is a compelling biographical film, a clever character study with heart and humor. Terell makes for an utterly compelling Obama, and the film’s series of exploratory scenes are consistently watchable. Netflix continuously picks up interesting independent films, and Barry is a great film to watch this holiday season. Grade: B+