Suburbicon is the perfect backdrop for an American dream ad. The fictional suburb, which sprang up in the 1950s, is home to hard working, nuclear families living an idyllic life until new, Black neighbors, who clearly weren’t invited to the photo shoot for the advertising brochure, move in. The Mayers are the symbol of the townspeople’s worst fears. The Mayers’ presence is so dreadful that a raucous town hall meeting leads them to endlessly harass and isolate the family of three.
Academy Award winner George Clooney directs this drama alongside brothers Joel and Ethan Coen. Clooney merged his idea to shine a light on the racial injustice that has plagued America for so long by highlighting Myers’ real life experience in Levittown, Pennsylvania told in the Coens’ original Suburbicon script from 1999.
Clooney says of this film, “The GI Bill helped everybody coming back from the war to buy a nice house with a garage and a yard. You could get a good job, live in a nice neighborhood and start a family, as long as you were white. What’s fun is peeling back that veneer of the perfect home life, and seeing how ugly things can get.”
“Ugly” is putting it mildly. The Myers were the symbol of class and dignity, making the townspeople’s hatred and bigotry misplaced, as the real culprits of the towns’ woes were themselves. As long as the Myers were servants, not neighbors, the townspeople would be proud. Somehow, the greatest equalizer, money, couldn’t override the color of their skin during that time period.