PLOT- Suburbicon is the quintessential 1950's American suburb; an idyllic haven for middle-class white families, where everything was perfect until the Mayer family moved in. The Mayers are Suburbicon's first African-American family and to the residents of the community, it is no coincidence that problems started occurring soon after they moved to the neighborhood.
The Mayer's next-door neighbors are Gardner Lodge (Matt Damon), his wife Rose (Julianne Moore) and their young son, Nicky (Noah Jupe). Rose, who is confined to a wheelchair, is murdered during a home invasion. Shortly after her death, Gardner invites Rose's twin sister, Margaret (Julianne Moore) to move into his house. It quickly becomes clear to investigators and Nicky, that there is something fishy regarding Rose's death and the robbery. The community of Suburbicon is so focused on their prejudice towards the Mayer family, that they don't notice the danger surrounding the Lodge household.
LIKE- We went to see this during our anniversary weekend trip to Palm Springs. I had not read the critics reviews prior to watching Suburbicon and based on both the trailer and cast, I had sky-high expectations. I was certain that I would love Suburbicon.
It was messy. Very messy.
However, there are a few aspects of the film that I did like. It's impossible to dislike Matt Damon and Julianne Moore, even when they are acting in a bad film. They both gave solid performances. Damon has a particularly chilling scene towards the end of the film with Jupe. I don't want to give any spoilers, but it was by far the best part of the film. Jupe holds his own against veteran actors. I also chuckled at the very last scene of Suburbicon. It's a perfect ending.
Suburbicon starts strong with a funny sales-pitch video aimed at white families considering moving to Suburbicon. The video focuses on the diversity within the community, which is of course a joke, as we soon learn when we meet the Mayers. The Meaers and Nicky are pretty much the only nice, innocent, sympathetic characters in the story. They do absolutely nothing wrong, and yet are put in harms way. It's a social commentary and satire, which unfortunately only occasionally works. The point is a bit heavy handed.
DISLIKE- As I mentioned, Suburbicon is a mess. It doesn't gel. George Clooney partnered with the Coen brothers on Suburbicon and although it does have much of the Coen brothers brand of humor and storytelling style, it's a big miss. I'm a big fan of the Coen brother's other films.
The pacing is sluggish and the story fails to be compelling. I was nodding off in the middle. I've been thinking about it and I've come to the conclusion that one of the primary script problems is that the villains feel flat and don't have qualities that draw me to follow their journey. Even unlikable characters and villains need to draw the audience into their story, but in Suburbicon, they were flat and dull.
The worst part is upon leaving the theater and discussing the film, my husband and I had two completely different understandings of the main plot points, including the ending. Maybe Suburbicon is confusing, maybe we were confused because we nodded off or drank giant margaritas before the screening...who knows? I just know this was not a great movie.
RECOMMEND- No. I agree with the critics, steer clear of Suburbicon.