The movie is set in New York City with Obama as a college student faced with questions about race, culture, and identity. “Barry” premiered in the Special Presentations section at the Ryerson Theater on Sept. 10.
Variety‘s Owen Glieberman said in his review, “Set in 1981, when Obama was a 20-year-old college student who moved to New York to transfer to Columbia University, the film is rooted in the murky, drifting, sleep-late-and-get-stoned-and-do-whatever nature of college life that the movies almost never get right. This one does, and that’s one reason it feels bracingly authentic.”
“Barry” is a joint production between Black Bear Pictures and Cinetic Media, produced by Cinetic’s Dana O’Keefe and Black Bear’s Teddy Schwarzman and Ben Stillman. It is the first production for Jon Sloss’ Cinetic.
Devon Terrell and Anya Taylor-Joy were cast as the leads in “Barry” in March. Vikram Gandhi, whose “Kumare” won the 2011 audience award at SXSW, directed from a screenplay penned by novelist Adam Mansbach, who wrote “Go the F**k to Sleep.”
“Barry” moved into production a month after another Obama movie, “Southside With You,” premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. Roadside Attractions and Miramax teamed to buy U.S. rights to “Southside,” which re-creates the 1989 first date between Michelle and Barack Obama, and the film has grossed $6.1 million in three weeks with a peak of 897 theaters.
News about the Netflix deal was first reported by Deadline Hollywood.