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Leave the World Behind fans feeling concerned amid massive US cellular outage

Fans of Netflix’s popular disaster film Leave the World Behind were left concerned after they found themselves in a similar state of affairs to the film’s leads: without cellular and internet access.

On Thursday (22 February) morning, more than 70,000 AT&T customers in the US were impacted by a nationwide mobile phone outage. Some Verizon and T-Mobile customers were also affected. This left people unable to make phone calls, including emergency calls to 911.

The state of affairs was reminiscent of the 2023 apocalyptic thriller based on Rumaan Alam’s 2020 novel of the same name, which follows Amanda and Clay Sandford, played by Julia Roberts and Ethan Hawke, as they take their two children Rose and Archie (Farrah Mackenzie and Charlie Evans) on a weekend getaway to Long Island, New York.

While there, the owner of their luxurious rental home, GH Scott (Mahershala Ali) and his daughter Ruth (Myha’la Herrold) return to the property under mysterious circumstances, claiming that the city has experienced a blackout.

“This is how Leave the World Behind started,” one tweeted about the outages on Thursday.

“Literally just watched Leave the World Behind last night and woke up to all 3 cellphone networks being down,” a second noted, with a third adding: “This AT & T outage is very much giving Leave The World Behind vibes.”

“Nationwide cell phone outage definitely hits different after watching Leave the World Behind,” another commented.

Following its release, the movie quickly rose to No 1 on the streamer. However, it currently has an audience score of just 35 per cent on the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, with multiple viewers lodging complaints about its lengthy runtime.

Critics, however, remained more favourable.

In her four-star review for The Independent, Clarisse Loughrey wrote: “Esmail goes big and bold with his Hitchcock allusions and showy camera work... Yet nothing quite shows Esmail’s hand more than Rose’s chemical-like reliance on Friends, a show which Ruth describes as ‘nostalgic for a time that never existed’. Yes, it’s ironic that the series is currently available on Netflix – but that’s exactly the kind of thoroughly modern hypocrisy Leave the World Behind revels in.”

Leave the World Behind is available to stream on Netflix.