Don’t worry, we’re confused too.
Netflix’s biggest new thriller Leave the World Behind has left fans scratching at their heads following its ending. The film stars Julia Roberts and Ethan Hawke as two parents who take their children on a vacation to Long Island, New York.
The family eventually cohabits with the owners of their rental property and watches as the world comes to a technological collapse and eventual catastrophe. The ending, however, is too ‘abrupt’ to some viewers as the movie closes on a scene of the family’s daughter watching an episode of Friends.
The film was originally based on a 2020 novel written by Rumaan Alam with another ending. The author sat down with Variety to discuss Sam Esmail’s, the director, alternate conclusion. Alam, who serves as an executive producer on the film, said that the film’s ending was ‘so satisfying’ and praised Esmail.
“To end with the particular jolt of humor that [Esmail] does is so satisfying and so rewarding,” he said. “It’s sort of self-reflective because he’s a filmmaker. He’s also worked in television, and he’s sort of asserting something about the power of that medium, and its hold over this one character.
“I say it’s funny, but I don’t think it’s a joke. I don’t think it’s a joke on Rose. I don’t think it’s a joke on the audience. I don’t think it’s a joke on Friends. It’s a reminder that art is kind of a salve. The theatrical experience of watching this movie is so powerful because I’ve had the chance to see audiences respond to the ending three times now, and nobody really knows what to make of it. They’re like, is this funny? Is this scary? Is it really over? And I love that so much.”