George Clooney’s new satire tackles racial prejudice.
George Clooney’s latest film “Suburbicon” – which hit theaters Friday – has a York County connection you might not be aware of.
Matt Damon and Julianne Moore star as residents of a seemingly quiet white suburban community in the 1950s that turns violent when a father must defend his family against mobsters.
The movie is set amid the hatred and violence that surrounded Daisy and William Myers, a York couple who became the first black family to move into the all-white community of Levittown, Bucks County, in 1957.
More: Follow these links to learn more about civil rights pioneer Daisy Myers of York, Pa.
Like a lot of families in the 1950s, the Myers looked to the suburbs for a quiet, peaceful place to live and settled on Levittown, which was among the first planned suburban developments in the country, northeast of Philadelphia.
However, they quickly learned their presence was unwelcome. The neighborhood formed a committee to drive them out, and a mob gathered every night in front of their house burning crosses in their yard.
Clooney, director and co-writer of “Suburbicon,” told the Associated Press that issues like those the Myers family faced are “never out of vogue in our country.”
“We are still trying to exorcise these problems,” he said ahead of the film’s premiere. “We’ve still got a lot of work to do from our original sin of slavery and racism.”
Myers’ perseverance in the face of racial violence earned her the nickname “Rosa Parks of the North.”
More:‘Levittown’ tells about the Myers family’s quest to live the American dream – in York, Pa., too
Her case eventually wound up in court and finally came to an end in August 1958, when a judge issued a permanent injunction forbidding her neighbors from harassing her family.
After five years in Levittown, Myers moved her family to Harrisburg and later settled in York Township, where she taught in York City Schools for nearly three decades. She also worked as an aide to former U.S. Rep. Bill Goodling, R-York County, for about 20 years. She died in 2011 at age 86.
“Suburbicon” has faced criticism for trying to do too much by juggling racial commentary, social satire and murder mystery.
“It dips into the timely satire of mid-20th century suburbia, with inherent racism and white privilege hiding in plain sight next to picket fences and well-trimmed lawns, but rather than embracing it wholeheartedly, the narrative defaults to a lackluster murder mystery and a violent example of men and women behaving badly,” says USA Today’s Brian Truitt.
The film is now playing at Frank Theatres Queensgate Stadium 13 and R/C Hanover Movies 16 in York County.
Watch the trailer below:
‘Suburbicon’ stars Matt Damon and follows a suburban family plagued by ties to organized crime.
Also of interest, watch Matt Damon Julianne Moore and George Clooney talk racism and political polarization:
At the premiere for his latest directorial offering, “Suburbicon,” George Clooney and stars Julianne Moore and Matt Damon talk about how the issues raised in the movie demand discussion away from the screen. (Oct. 23)
York Daily Record columnist Mike Argento and the Associated Press contributed to this report.