Comedy


Suburbicon


MPAA Rating:
R
Genre:
Comedy
Runtime:
104 mins
Stars:
Matt Damon, Julianne Moore, Oscar Isaac, Noah Jupe
Director:
George Clooney
Producer:
George Clooney, Grant Heslov, Teddy Schwarzmann

Content at a Glance

4
Sex

Sex

Approved: 0-2 in any category

 

0:
none
1:
on-screen acts of romance
2:
infidelity; implied pre-marital sex or secondary lead characters with consequences
3:
inappropriate sexual relations without consequences
4-5:
graphic sexual activity is heard and/or seen
×
5
Language

Sex

Approved: 0-2 in any category

 

0:
none
1:
on-screen acts of romance
2:
infidelity; implied pre-marital sex or secondary lead characters with consequences
3:
inappropriate sexual relations without consequences
4-5:
graphic sexual activity is heard and/or seen
×
5
Violence

Violence

Approved: 0-2 in any category

 

0:
none
1:
on-screen acts of romance
2:
infidelity; implied pre-marital sex or secondary lead characters with consequences inappropriate sexual relations without consequences
4-5:
graphic sexual activity is heard and/or seen
×
3
Drugs

Drugs

Approved: 0-2 in any category

 

0:
none
1:
occasional drinking by secondary characters (i.e., man in bar)
2:
historically accurate use of alcohol and tobacco products
3:
continuous drinking and drug use common throughout
4-5:
drug/alcohol used many times by main character(s) shown in a positive light
×
0

Nudity

Approved: 0-2 in any category

 

0:
none
1:
baby’s behind; shirtless men, low cut shirts, short skirts seen occasionally on women
2:
rear nudity that is not suggestive such as skinny dipping from a distance; cleavage
3:
sexually suggestive and revealing clothing or underwear is common throughout
4-5:
frontal nudity
×
0

Other

Approved: 0-2 in any category

 

Lead characters that exhibit disrespect for authority, lying, cheating, stealing, illegal activity, witchcraft or sorcery

0:
none
1:
mild-moderate with consequences
2:
moderate poor behavior
3:
moderate-heavy behavior with no consequences
4-5:
extreme portrayals, condoned or excused
×

Sex


graphic sexual activity is seen and heard when the boy intrudes on his father and aunt engaging in kinky sex

Language


multiple uses of profane language, including f-bombs, sexual slang, and biblical profanity

Violence


extreme graphic violence; a man and woman are poisoned; man dies in an explosion; people stabbed, shot, and bludgeoned

Drugs


drugs chopped up and used as a poison

Nudity


No Information

Other


No Information


Trailer



Synopsis

A home invasion rattles a quiet family town.


Movie Message

George Clooney had his hands all over this movie as one of the writers, as its producer and director, and he missed the mark with Suburbicon, which is unintentionally ironic. In this re-working of an old Cohen brothers’ script, he tells the story of a small Caucasian family named the Lodges—Gardner (Matt Damon), Rose/Margaret (both roles played by Julianne Moore), and Nick (Noah Jupe), who is firmly situated in a post-war 1950s American-dream neighborhood by the same name as the film. As somewhat of a backdrop, Clooney bases the conflict in this film on a true story that occurred in Levittown, Pennsylvania, at that time (the second “planned community” created by the father of the modern American suburb, Levitt himself, who refused to sell homes to African Americans) by giving us the plot of a young black family, the Mayers (this last name is spelled slightly differently from the actual family’s) as the Lodges’ neighbors. They endure ridicule and shame at the hands of their all-white community that has become an angry mob throughout the film, determined to rid these “invaders” from the neighborhood. Considering how famous the actual Myers’ family became (Daisy Myers was called the “Rosa Parks of the North” and wrote a book about her family’s experiences), they disappointingly take a back seat to the Lodge family’s shallow escapades.


The seeming idea for including the Mayers’ narrative would be to highlight that they innocently suffer the consequences of the hatred that is bred in others’ hearts and minds, while the Lodges deal with the consequences of the sinister breeding of their own, as one bad choice leads to another. However, the constant cutting away to the chanting threat outside the Mayers’ home in an effort to connect these two coinciding scenarios falls short. It is glaringly obvious that the Lodge’s story is given precedence through their voice and the majority of the screen time, but it is not necessarily as interesting. Knowing Clooney’s penchant for making political and racial statements in film, and given his incessant attempt to showcase the friendship between the Mayers’ son and the Lodge’s, the irony lies in the story revolving primarily around the white family.


Clooney claims he keeps the Mayers family’s personal experience on the fringe in an effort to contrast the outward evil with the underbelly, a familiar 1950s suburban trope, perhaps also highlighting that no one in the community even notices the Lodge’s outrageous behavior due to the fixation on harassing the Mayers, but his point is shrouded by the actual silence imposed on the real victims, giving them few spoken lines and no backstory, thus literally marginalizing them. I was left feeling cheated that the Mayers’ story was not better articulated; I wanted to care about them more, not sympathize with the Lodges. It felt as though the latter was being crammed down my throat. It is not surprising then that this film has that jaunty, quirky Cohen brothers’ feel, but the dark comedic elements seem misplaced. It’s as though the movie does not know what it wants to be, so it jumps around seeking an identity.


However, big props go to production designer James D. Bissell for perfectly capturing the picturesque, squeaky-clean, yet stylish quality of this era, which successfully adds to the narrative that questions exterior versus interior realities. Likewise, Noah Jupe genuinely conveys his own victimization at the hands of blindingly selfish adults, where, in the friendship between the two boys, Clooney highlights that innocence is what we have lost and where love and forgiveness lie; we may not be able to go back to it, but as the boys resume their backyard play after so much evil has ensued, perhaps we can capture its spirit and let that guide us.

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