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 racism 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 family man, lives with his paraplegic wife Rose, their son Nicky and Rose's sister Margaret in Suburbicon. One night, two robbers, Sloan and Louis, break into the Lodge family home, tie the entire family up and kill Rose with an overdose of chloroform. Margaret moves in to help take care of Nicky. Soon after her sister's death, Margaret begins to transform herself into Rose, dyeing her hair blonde and having sex with Gardner.
The Lodges are called into the police station to identify Sloan and Louis, but both Gardner and Margaret say that the police have the wrong men, even as Nicky recognizes them as his mother's murderers. Soon afterward, Sloan shows up at Gardner's job and demands the money that he owes him and Louis - payment for killing Rose. When Gardner refuses to pay, Sloan and Louis plan to return to his house and kill Nicky and Margaret.
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. Cooper tells Margaret he suspects her and Gardner of murdering Rose to collect on her policy, and Margaret kicks him out of the house.
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 Sloan.
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, Louis strangles her to death before heading upstairs to deal with Nicky. Mitch arrives and saves Nicky by shooting Louis dead. Mitch gives Nicky a gun and hides him in the closet before succumbing to a stab wound inflicted by Louis.
On the way home from disposing of Cooper's body, Gardner is taunted by Sloan, who is suddenly killed by a fire truck. Arriving home, he finds the bodies of Margaret, Mitch, and Louis, and gets Nicky out of the closet. He offers Nicky a choice: he can go along with a plan to cash out an insurance claim and run away to Aruba, or Gardner will kill him and blame his death on Sloan and Louis.
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.
- Matt Damon as Gardner Lodge, Nicky's father
- Julianne Moore as Rose and Margaret
- Noah Jupe as Nicky Lodge, Gardner's son
- Oscar Isaac as Bud Cooper, the insurance claims investigator
- Glenn Fleshler as Ira Sloan, a hitman
- Alex Hassell as Louis, Sloan's partner
- Megan Ferguson as June
- Jack Conley as Hightower
- Gary Basaraba as Uncle Mitch
- Michael D. Cohen as Stretch
- Karimah Westbrook as Mrs. Mayers
- Leith Burke as Mr. Mayers
- Tony Espinosa as Andy Mayers
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 a 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|
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