• George Clooney in Out Of Sight. (Supplied)Source: Supplied
He's got off-the-charts handsomeness, charm 'til Tuesday and always says the right thing... shouldn't he give it a rest?
Nick Bhasin

5 Oct 2018 - 1:41 PM  UPDATED 5 Oct 2018 - 9:06 PM

It’s George Clooney season here at SBS. It’s a time of good cheer as we broadcast and stream some of his best acting work. 

It’s also a painful reminder that my wife thinks I am not the handsomest man alive – he is.

Has she ever actually said, “I think George Clooney is more handsome than you”? Not exactly in those words. But she has said things like, “You should make your hair more like George Clooney’s.” She’s also suggested that I try to “get into George Clooney’s basketball game”, as if that’s something that people can just do – just find their way into a private event full of celebrities.

And one of our recent conversations went like this:

MY WIFE: “I’d like to be in a movie one day.”

ME: “Oh? What kind of movie?”

MY WIFE: “A George Clooney movie.”

ME, sweating: “Right, so a kind of taut drama or screwball comedy or –“

MY WIFE: “A kissing movie. With lots of kissing in it.”

Do those sound like the words of someone who doesn’t think George Clooney is more handsome than me? I don’t think so.

Look, I’ll admit it - I’m not a movie star. I don’t have to deal with “the paps”. But I do try to stay in shape and wear semi-decent clothes. Shouldn’t that be enough? Do I also have to star in Up in the Air and Syriana? I’m pretty sure both of those ships have sailed.

Where does my wife’s Clooney obsession (or, Cloobsession) come from?

To find out, we watched a few Clooney movies together and I asked her to rate his handsomeness. Does she have a problem? Am I insecure? You decide…


O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000)

As soon as Clooney shows up, there’s an audible gasp from my wife.

“He’s so young,” she says, clearly marvelling at his handsomeness. She loves his hair, the moustache and even the tan. But she doesn’t love the character and all the mugging, so she gives him a Handsomeness Rating of 7.

But then she thinks about it for another second and bumps him up to a 9. A 9!

“He is clearly trying not to be handsome,” she says, “but he can’t help himself. That gets two extra points.”

This is not going to be pretty…

Handsomeness Rating: 9


Ocean’s Eleven (2001)

Oh boy. Handsomeness-wise, Clooney brings out the big guns in this one. As soon as he gets out of prison wearing a suit, I know it’s over.

“He is very attractive,” my wife says. “The goatee’s super creepy and I still love it.”

Then, as if on cue, he loses the goatee. Game over.

“He’s just got that smirk that ladies love,” my wife says. “He’s confident but sweet. Not arrogant. And so so good looking.”

The key here is that she imagines that Clooney’s movie star persona and who he is in real life are one and the same. She pictures him wearing that “distinguished gentleman” vibe all the time. And I have no reason not to believe that to be true.

I look over at my wife when Clooney runs into love interest Julia Roberts for the first time and she is giddy. She’s either imagining she’s Roberts or she’s just basking in the aura of George’s handsomeness and the romance it radiates.

I don’t try to find out. I think I’d rather not know.

Handsomeness Rating: 10


The Peacemaker (1997)

First of all, this is not a good movie. And that matters. My wife likes George Clooney because he’s a good actor that is in good movies. She’s not just trawling the silver screen for eye candy. She wants substance.

And in a movie that features Clooney in one of his many peak handsomeness phases, the fact that he doesn’t show up for what seems like an eternity is unforgiveable.

But when he finally does, he’s armed with that headshake. That looking at the floor and smiling thing he developed on ER. He’s full throttle with that ECC (Early Clooney Charm).

Yet my wife is conflicted.

“He’s very sexy,” she says. “But he’s also smug and a know-it-all, which is not the best look on him.”

Handsomeness Rating: 10 


Syriana (2005)

Okay this is the true test. Clooney put on a bunch of weight and grew a thick, non-sexy beard to play a spy and win his Oscar. There’s no way my wife is going to –

“Don’t care,” she says. “Sexy. He’s serious but he’s smooth.”

What is going on here?

Handsomeness Rating: 10


Ocean’s Twelve (2004)


In this sequel, Clooney kind of takes a backseat to Brad Pitt, the other lead dreamboat of the franchise. Pitt’s got a romantic history with Catherine Zeta-Jones’ character and they’re very charming together. But when I look over at my wife, she’s stone faced. It’s doing nothing for her.

“He’s too pretty,” she says of Pitt, who just happens to be a hero of mine. “And what’s with those terrible frosted tips in his hair? No. Also those large collars need to get right out of here.” 

“Brad Pitt just has a very standard American look,” she continues. “I don’t mind the romance but it’s not making me giddy.”

She’s right. She’s not giddy.

“George Clooney’s just got that smile,” she says as we hit the part where he’s turning the charm up to 11 as he apologises to Julia Roberts. “He’s sweet and charming and funny. And there’s not nearly enough of him in this movie.”

Handsomeness Rating: 10


Three Kings (1999)


Clooney’s roguishness is in full throttle here and my wife is loving it.

She’s also doing some research on George’s personal life and discovers that he says very nice things about his wife, Amal.

Here’s a sampling:

“I met someone who I would absolutely trade my life for. I met someone, who, her life meant more to me than my life. I had never had that experience before.”

“I’ve never been happier in a relationship by any stretch of the imagination. At 52 I found the love of my life and I’m really happy.”

“She’s an amazing human being. And she’s caring. And she also happens to be one of the smartest people I’ve ever met. And she’s got a great sense of humor.”

I’m aware of the game George is playing here and I’m not impressed. I say that it sounds like he really likes her. Then my wife turns the tables on me.

“You don’t talk about me like that,” she says.

Time stands still. These are the important moments in a marriage, when saying the wrong thing could mean certain doom. There’s a lot of pressure and not a lot of time to make a move. Any kind of extended pause could be seen as a definitive response.

I don’t hesitate.

“How do you know?” I say. “I say those things about you all the time. And if People magazine called I’d put it on the record. In fact, get them on the phone. I’ve got some gushing to do.”

She laughs.

Marriage saved.

Handsomeness Rating: 10


The Ides of March (2011)


“This is a tricky one,” my wife says. “Clooney’s got the charm, but Ryan Gosling’s got the hotness. And the fitness.”

This is the first time she’s mentioned physical fitness and it’s frightening. Up until this point, we’ve been focusing on handsomeness and charm. But now we’re lifting the hood and I don’t like it. I can’t compete with Ryan Gosling’s six-pack. I can’t and I won’t. Maybe she’ll just move on and –

“If that shirt came off, you’d probably find some things under there,” she says.

Oh god what does she mean? What things? We’re in truly dangerous territory...

“What’s great about these guys is that they aren’t arrogant,” she adds. “They don’t know that they’re good looking.”

I’m fairly certain they know exactly how good looking they are.

I tell her that Gosling has admitted that the cool way he talks is an affectation that he copied from Marlon Brando. He’s not from Brooklyn or anything. He’s Canadian.

Does that change things for her?

“Nope,” she says. “That said, George wouldn’t do that. He’s real.”

It’s decision time. Who’s she choosing? Clooney or Gosling?

“If I were being hit on by both of them,” she says, “I’d have to go with George because he’s got that gentleman social justice vibe and he rides a motorcycle.”

Case closed.

Handsomeness Rating: 9


We didn’t have time to watch everything Clooney’s done, so I put my wife through the Handsomeness Lightning Round…


The Facts of Life (1985): “I don’t remember him in this but 10.”


Roseanne (1989-1991): “Same and same. 10.”


ER (1994-1999): “Absolutely. 10 please.”


One Fine Day (1996): “Romantic George is the best George. 10.”


Batman & Robin (1997): “There isn’t a mask in the world that can hide that handsomeness. 10.”


Out of Sight (1998): “I definitely need to see this movie. 10.”


The Perfect Storm (2000): “Never saw it. Still. 9.”


Michael Clayton (2007): “Jesus 10. Next?”


Burn After Reading (2008): “Don’t remember this movie. Don’t care. 9.”


Up in the Air (2009): “I love him in this movie. 10.”


Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009): “Great movie. 10.”


The Descendants (2011): “I liked the movie, but I didn’t love him in it. 9.”



By the end of our journey, I began to suspect that my wife was not taking the Handsomeness Ratings system seriously - Clooney didn't get less than a 9 in anything. Even Mullett Clooney got a 10.

I also began to appreciate why my wife likes George so much – and it has nothing to do with me. She likes romance. She likes charm. And, ultimately, as she points out…

“I just like looking at him.”

For more insights into the handsomeness of George Clooney and how it’s affecting his marriage, follow Nick on Twitter.


Watch Up in the Air at 8:30 tonight on SBS. After it airs, the movie will be streaming at SBS On Demand: