Parents' Guide to

Leave the World Behind

By Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 15+

Pessimistic but intense, gripping end-of-the-world thriller.

Movie R 2023 141 minutes
Leave the World Behind Movie Poster: A deer stands in the middle of a two-lane road, with trees on either side; in the distance, white Teslas are on the road

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 14+

Based on 11 parent reviews

age 9+


This stunning movie, “Leave the World Behind”, is 100% predictive programming. It is a warning to us all to GET PREPARED, NOW, and get right with your neighbors (the ones who survive the "Great Deception"). Are you self-sufficient? Can you rely on your neighbors to barter and trade with after the SHTF? If not, here ya' go: BarterintheHood
age 17+

Artificial intelligence can't save You !!

Julia nagging her husband was hard to watch. Tesla driving car truth rolling death traps. Depending on someone else to save them from themselves. Julia with Karen attitude problems. Sometimes to slow or making dumb decisions.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (11 ):
Kids say (10 ):

Making crafty use of editing, music, and composition, this pessimistic thriller is more about human flaws than anything thrilling, but it's so well made that it easily catches us in its grip. Adapted from the same-named novel by Rumaan Alam and written and directed by Sam Esmail -- creator of the TV shows Homecoming and Mr. Robot -- Leave the World Behind feels lean and taut, even at an ample 141 minutes. It doesn't waste time overexplaining or showing anything that doesn't need to be shown. Many moments -- including an early scene in which an oil tanker slowly, slowly heads toward a populated beach -- feel startlingly fresh. Another sequence expertly cuts back and forth between three events as characters explore their surroundings and each tries to figure out what's going on. The tension mounts so perfectly that it's exciting.

The performances by everyone involved are superb, sharp without being hysterical. The dialogue is equally strong, as it unpacks the meaning of all this harrowing mystery. It essentially boils down to human beings' relationships with technology and with other human beings, and the conclusion is that we can be rather awful to each other. But Leave the World Behind knocks us for a loop with its just-right ending scene, ironically both brutal in its commentary and a bit comforting as well.

Movie Details

  • In theaters: November 22, 2023
  • On DVD or streaming: December 8, 2023
  • Cast: Mahershala Ali , Julia Roberts , Ethan Hawke
  • Director: Sam Esmail
  • Inclusion Information: Middle Eastern/North African directors, Black actors, Female actors, Middle Eastern/North African writers
  • Studio: Netflix
  • Genre: Thriller
  • Topics: Book Characters
  • Run time: 141 minutes
  • MPAA rating: R
  • MPAA explanation: language, some sexual content, drug use and brief bloody images
  • Last updated: December 27, 2023

Inclusion information powered by

Did we miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate