Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||George Clooney|
|Music by||Alexandre Desplat|
|Edited by||Stephen Mirrione|
|Distributed by||Paramount Pictures|
|Box office||$11.9 million|
Suburbicon is a 2017 American black comedy film written and directed by George Clooney, and co-written by the Coen brothers and Grant Heslov. The film stars Matt Damon, Julianne Moore, Noah Jupe, and Oscar Isaac, and follows a mild-mannered father who must face his demons after a home invasion shakes his quaint neighborhood in 1959. It is loosely based on a 1957 incident in Levittown, Pennsylvania, in which a black family moved into the previously all-white neighborhood, leading to racially-charged harassment and violence against the family.
Principal photography began in October 2016 in Los Angeles. Suburbicon premiered in the main competition section of the 74th Venice International Film Festival on September 2, 2017, then screened at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival, and was theatrically released in the United States on October 27, 2017. It received generally negative reviews from critics, who called the plot "awkwardly jammed together" and noted it as a disappointment given the talent involved, and was a box office bomb, making just $11 million against its $25 million budget.
In 1959, the peaceful, all-white neighborhood of Suburbicon is shaken up by the arrival of an African-American family, the Mayers.
Gardner Lodge, a mild-mannered man, is the father of a family in Suburbicon. One night, the home of the Lodge family is broken into by two robbers. The robbers tie the entire family up and kill the matriarch, Rose, with an overdose of chloroform. Her twin sister, Margaret, moves in to help take care of Nicky, her nephew and Rose and Gardner's son. Soon after her sister's death, Margaret begins to transform herself into Rose, dyeing her hair blonde and having sex with Gardner.
As tensions mount between the residents of Suburbicon and their new African-American neighbors, charismatic insurance agent Bud Cooper arrives one day when Gardner is not home and begins asking Margaret questions, looking to clear up red flags in a life insurance claim made on Rose by Gardner shortly after her death. The conversation starts out innocuously enough, but Cooper grows suspicious when Margaret uses words such as "we" and "our" (implying she and Gardner are a couple), after which Margaret kicks him out of the house.
Meanwhile, the two robbers who killed Rose are angry at Gardner after Nicky sneaks into the viewing room for a police lineup, where Gardner and Margaret denied seeing in the lineup the two robbers who broke into their home. They are also angry that Gardner has not paid them a sum of money they were promised for killing Rose, and grow impatient when they are unable to reach him by phone. They make a plan to return to Gardner's house, and kill Nicky and Margaret.
That night, as a prolonged protest at the home of the new African-American residents turns into a riot, Cooper returns to talk directly to Gardner. He tells Gardner that he knows the nature of his and Margaret's insurance fraud plan and attempts to blackmail them into giving him their entire payout in exchange for his silence. Margaret poisons his coffee with lye, and Gardner stabs him with a fireplace poker to finish him off. Gardner leaves to hide his body, trailed by one of the two robbers.
Margaret attempts to poison Nicky with a sandwich and milk after he eavesdropped on her conversation with Cooper and contacted his Uncle Mitch for help. The increasingly suspicious Nicky does not eat the sandwich and, as Margaret is admitting defeat, one of the robbers strangles her to death before heading upstairs to deal with Nicky, who is saved by Mitch's arrival. Mitch gives Nicky a gun and hides him in the closet before succumbing to a stab wound inflicted by the now-dead robber.
On the way home from disposing of Cooper's body, Gardner is taunted by the other robber, who is suddenly killed by a fire truck. Arriving home, he finds the bodies of Margaret, Mitch, and the robber, and gets Nicky out of the closet. He offers Nicky a choice: go along with his plan to cash out an insurance claim and use the money to run away to Aruba, or be killed by Gardner.
The next morning, Gardner is dead, having consumed Margaret's poisoned sandwich and milk during his conversation with Nicky. Nicky calmly goes outside to play ball with Andy, the son of the African-American family next door, after the family has cleaned up the remnants of the previous night's riot.
According to producer Joel Silver, Joel and Ethan Coen originally wrote the script for Suburbicon in 1986, soon after the release of their film Blood Simple. In 2005, it was reported that George Clooney would star in and direct Suburbicon, while the Coen brothers would produce.
The film was eventually made ten years later, combining two previously unrelated scripts, one a crime film by the Coens, and one an historical drama based on the real-life story of the Myers family, the only black family in all-white Levittown, Pennsylvania who faced racially-charged harassment and violence from other residents. On December 8, 2015, Matt Damon, Julianne Moore, and Josh Brolin joined the cast;Oscar Isaac and Woody Harrelson later signed on, as well. On August 31, 2016, Noah Jupe and Glenn Fleshler joined, to play Damon's character's son and a hitman, respectively.
On September 27, 2016, Harrelson said in an interview that he would not be in the film due to scheduling conflicts. In August 2017, it was reported that Brolin had been cut from the final edit of the film.
Suburbicon grossed $5.8 million in the United States and Canada, and $4.5 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $10.2 million, against a production budget of $25 million.
In the United States and Canada, Suburbicon was released alongside Thank You for Your Service and Jigsaw, and was projected to gross around $8 million from 2,046 theaters in its opening weekend. However, after making $1.1 million on its first day, weekend estimates were lowered to $3 million. It ended up debuting to $2.8 million, finishing 9th at the box office. The weekend marked the lowest wide opening of Clooney's directorial credits, and of Matt Damon's career, and the 32nd worst-ever opening for a film playing in over 2,000 theaters. It dropped 59% in its second weekend to $1.2 million, finishing 13th at the box office.
On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 29% based on 226 reviews, with an average rating of 5/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "A disappointing misfire for director George Clooney, Suburbicon attempts to juggle social satire, racial commentary, and murder mystery -- and ends up making a mess of all three." On Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating to reviews, the film has a weighted average score of 42 out of 100, based on 49 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "D-" on an A+ to F scale.
|Award||Date of ceremony||Category||Recipient(s) and nominee(s)||Result||Ref.|
|London Film Critics Circle||January 28, 2018||Young British/Irish Performer of the Year||Noah Jupe (also for Wonder and The Man with the Iron Heart)||Nominated|||
|San Diego Film Critics Society||December 11, 2017||Best Supporting Actor||Oscar Isaac||Nominated|||
|Venice Film Festival||September 9, 2017||Golden Lion||George Clooney||Nominated|||
|Green Drop Award||George Clooney||Nominated|
|Fondazione Mimmo Rotella Award||George Clooney||Won|
|Fragiacomo Award||George Clooney||Won|
|Franca Sozzani Award||Julianne Moore||Won|
|Saturn Awards||June 27, 2018||Best Thriller Film||Suburbicon||Nominated|||
|39th Young Artist Awards||July 14, 2018||Best Performance in a Feature Film - Leading Teen Actor||Noah Jupe||Nominated|