George Clooney was born on May 6th, 1961 in Lexington, Kentucky. His mother was a beauty queen and had a seat on the city council. His father was an anchorman and television host. Growing up he was an avid baseball player and even tried out for the Cincinnati Reds in 1977. Two years later he attended Northern Kentucky University where he majored in broadcast journalism. After graduating, he took many odd-jobs until he got his acting start as an extra on the TV mini-series Centennial.
Once he started acting, he earned a major role on the short-lived 1984 sitcom entitled E/R. After that ended, he appeared on many different, popular TV shows until he got his big break as Doctor Doug Ross on the medical Drama ER. While doing that he slowly transitioned into film acting by appearing in such blockbusters as: From Dusk Till Dawn, Three Kings, and Ocean’s Eleven. More recently he’s been behind the camera directing such films as: Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, The Ides of March, and his newest film Suburbicon, which may take cues from his childhood.
In 1950’s America, a quiet Caucasian community known as Suburbicon has just had its first ever African-American family move in. The neighborhood is absolutely perplexed at such a thing and continues to gawk at the family all day, every day. Meanwhile Gardner (Matt Damon), his wife Rose, her twin sister Margaret (both played by Julianne Moore), and Gardner’s son Nicky (Noah Jupe) have just been tied up and chloroformed by two men that broke into their home. Unfortunately, Rose dies in the ordeal and the family must cope with the loss. Stemming from the original home invasion, several other crazy events occur and Nicky must try and figure out what is really going on.
Suburbicon is a very difficult film to discuss. On one hand it’s a pretty straightforward black comedy about a suburban family that has their world turned upside down due to a home invasion. On the other hand, it’s a social commentary on how people are negatively viewed based purely on their race. Due to these two different viewpoints, the film doesn’t seem very cohesive. The social commentary feels very tacked on and completely unnecessary when the film is viewed as a whole. I completely understand why it was included and what subject they are attempting to tackle, however it fails to make that connection in any sort of meaningful way.
Since the core of the film is the black comedy portion, I would like to focus on that aspect specifically. It started off very perplexing and meandered quite a bit. But as soon as additional things came to light, I began to enjoy the experience more and more. It’s definitely a very quirky and fun film, but its pacing really hampered many of humorous elements for me. On a more uplifting note, Noah Jupe does an astounding job, and his performance is one of the best child acting that I have ever seen. He is truly the best part of the film and steals the spotlight in every scene he’s featured.
When taking some time to contemplate more about the film, I don’t think that its weaknesses completely overpower its strengths. I think that they cancel each other out and the film is merely mediocre at best. Suburbicon definitely has some memorable moments, but regrettably it’s an easily forgettable road down 1950’s Americana.
Synopsis: A middle-class suburban family is shaken up when a home invasion occurs.
Directors: George Clooney
Writers: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen, George Clooney, Grant Heslov
Stars: Matt Damon, Julianne Moore, Oscar Isaac, Noah Jupe
Runtime: 1 Hour, 44 Minutes