The film, an apocalyptic drama starring Julia Roberts, Mahershala Ali, Ethan Hawke and Kevin Bacon, was produced by Higher Ground Productions, the company founded by former US president Barack Obama and his wife Michelle.
Adapted from the 2020 novel of the same name by Rumaan Alam, Leave the World Behind follows a society that unravels after technological infrastructure, from phones to TVs, starts to collapse.
Despite ascending to the top of the streaming service’s charts – surpassing films such as Family Switch and the animation The Grinch – Leave the World Behind received mixed reviews from critics, and the response from viewers (not to mention Elon Musk) has been even more polarised.
On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, Leave the World Behind boasts a critics score of 75 per cent positive, while the audience score lags at just 42 per cent.
On social media, viewers offered their verdict on the film, with many making the same complaint: the film simply can’t justify its 140-minute runtime.
“Leave the World Behind is a weird, often funny, often stupid, and ultimately cynical mess of a movie. The film takes an awfully long time to finally arrive at the point, and when it does, the point is cartoonishly pessimistic and narratively unsatisfying. I did not care for it,” one viewer commented on X/Twitter.
“I’m watching Leave the World Behind. Here’s why that’s a mistake. I wanna watch other things and this movie is almost 2 & a half hours long,” another complained.
“Leave The World Behind wasn’t bad but it for damn sure didn’t need to be almost 2.5 hours most movies don’t need to go past an hour 50 if ya ask me. But nobody asked me lmao. So ima spare y’all the investment,” someone else argued.
Meanwhile, Musk is being lampooned over his complaint about a Tesla “inaccuracy” featured in the film.
Among the films to trail Leave the World Behind on the Netflix charts is the body-swap comedy Family Switch.
Released at the start of this month, Family Switch provoked some degree of controversy among viewers thanks to a joke centring on an “incestuous” kiss.
In the film, directed by McG, four family members to switch bodies, with a married couple taking the place of their two children and vice versa.
The contentious scene sees the two children, in their parents’ bodies, forced to kiss at a social gathering.
Leave the World Behind and Family Switch are both available to stream on Netflix now.