Though it’s based in part on real-life events that happened in the 1950s in Levittown, Pa., the titular town in Suburbicon could really be Anywhere, U.S.A. And like in plenty suburbia-set movies of the past (think American Beauty, The Stepford Wives, Happiness, and of course, The ‘Burbs), there’s some serious foul play at work — in this case, murder, conspiracy, double crossings — the types of mayhem you’d expect from a script originally penned by the Coen brothers.
It all raises the question: Does Hollywood think there’s a sinister underbelly to the suburbs?
“I think any place — it doesn’t have to be a suburban place — but any place that’s homogeneous, where there’s not diversity, and there’s not opportunity, any place where people self-segregate is not a good place,” Julianne Moore told Yahoo Entertainment (watch above) at the film’s Los Angeles press day, where she was joined by costar Matt Damon. “You basically want to be stimulated and see the world as it really is rather than isolate yourself in an enclave. But it doesn’t have to be the suburbs.”
George Clooney, who directed Suburbicon and who, along with producing partner Grant Heslov, updated the Coen brothers script with the Levittown-inspired story of white-flighters tormenting a black family that’s moved to the neighborhood, acknowledged the film subverts the romanticization of the ‘burbs.
“I think there are times in our history where we look back and we think of them more fondly than other people would,” he said. “We always think of the Eisenhower ’50s as a pretty amazing Leave It to Beaver great moment. [It] probably [was] not so good if you were a woman or black or a number of other things. So I think it’s better just looking back and reminding ourselves that not everything was as it was cracked up to be.”
Suburbicon is now in theaters.
Watch Matt Damon and George Clooney talk trash about each other:
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