Depicting the era when Donald Trump believes that “America was great,” director George Clooney goes too far in demonstrating that the early 1950s were a time of trouble in the suburbs. Although the first Levittown, which started sales in 1947, offered quickly built homes with modern conveniences and white picket fences away from the dingy cities, FHA required that residents must be White. (Most filming is in Fullerton, though some of the rest is in the San Fernando Valley.)
One part of Suburbicon focuses on the true story about the reaction of White residents to the day when the Mayers, a middle class Black family, move into one of the Levittown houses in 1957 and are greeted with massive hostility from almost everyone except for a 5-year-old White boy Nicky Lodge (played by Noah Jupe), whose mom (Julianne Moore) encourages him to play a little baseball with 5-year-old Andy (played by Tony Espinosa), the Black boy who lives next door. The other part of the film depicts Nicky’s family, consisting of an authoritarian father (Matt Damon), a sick mother, and her twin sister (also played by Juliane Moore), who is the housekeeper for the family. Doors in the community are never locked, so one day two thugs enter the Lodge residence, inexplicably asking for money. When they fail to collect, they tie up the family and chloroform them to sleep. In the next scene, members of the family have somehow untied themselves and are at the hospital, where the mother is dying. The next series of events plunge the family into even more trouble, leaving Nicky with Andy as his only true friend.
Suburbicon is the type of film that prompts some to leave before the ending and informs those who stay, hoping for something redemptive, that they should have left earlier. MH