A review of the new film “Hillbilly Elegy”

‘Hillbilly’ is a term (often derogatory) for people who live in rural, mountainous areas in the United States, primarily in southern Appalachia and the Ozarks and this film is set in such a community in Kentucky.

It does not examine why such Americans are so poor and disadvantaged but tells the (true life) story of how one young man (J D Vance) managed to escape such contraints to get to an ivy league university and become a venture capitalist and the movie is based on his best-selling book of the same title.

J D survived and surmounted the tough love of his mother Bev (played by Amy Adams) and grandmother Mamaw (Glenn Close). It is a world of physical and substance abuse which, on occasions, makes for some uncomfortable viewing.

More than most, this film has divided opinion. Once one accepts that this is a personal story and not an insight into a whole community, the movie has a powerful and ultimately uplifting tale to tell. I thought the acting by Adams and Close – both of whom wear facial prosthetics and wigs – convincing and impressive.

For me, the problem is in the direction, although this is work of the acclaimed Ron Howard. There are simply too many flash-backs (or flash-forwards depending on your perspective) so that the narrative is excessively disjointed and at time unclear. 


XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>