Hillbilly Elegy Review

Hillbilly Elegy is available to stream on Netflix. [poilib element="accentDivider"] Based on J. D. Vance's acclaimed memoir, Ron Howard's Hillbilly Elegy features powerful "reverse makeover" performances from Glenn Close and Amy Adams (that are sure to shine up nicely come awards season) but ultimately the film is a somewhat hollow, overly-glossy attempt to encapsulate J.D.'s struggles to escape a life of abuse and poverty. There are interesting, and important, themes at play in Hillbilly Elegy, about the difficulties of escaping cycles of violence and how destitution itself is a disease but the narrative bounces back and forth between J.D.'s past and present a bit too loosely, to the point where you start disengaging emotionally because we're only getting the bullet points of hill folk strife. Again, Close and Adams are very good, and when you see actual footage of J.D's "Mamaw" and mother during the final credits, you'll note just how close these high-caliber performers came to mirroring the actual people.

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