Believe us when we say that no two queens want Glenn and Amy to get their long overdue Oscars more than us, but we sure would have liked it if they didn’t have to do this to get them:
Sorry, but that looks mawkish and – in the usual manner of Hollywood attempting to depict American non-urban white poverty – condescending as hell. To be blunt, we expected as much from this project because J.D. Vance’s book was criticized for largely the same thing and because as talented as Ron Howard is as a director, he has a tendency to go very “Hollywood” in his style – all surface, but not much depth. This just doesn’t look like the piercing, probing examination of white rural poverty that it clearly wants to be.
Having said that …
Of course we’re going to watch and OF COURSE we’ll still be rooting for these two actresses to pick up the ultimate professional consideration they’ve so long pursued. This is exactly the kind of film and kind of actress performance (“bravely” eschewing makeup and suffering through bad wigs as their characters are repeatedly punished and humiliated) the Academy loves, largely because it allows them to glide past any accusation of elitism. We want it to be good for the actresses’ sakes, but the trailer does little to sell it to us.
J.D. Vance (Gabriel Basso), a former Marine from southern Ohio and current Yale Law student, is on the verge of landing his dream job when a family crisis forces him to return to the home he’s tried to forget. J.D. must navigate the complex dynamics of his Appalachian family, including his volatile relationship with his mother Bev (Amy Adams), who’s struggling with addiction. Fueled by memories of his grandmother Mamaw (Glenn Close), the resilient and whip-smart woman who raised him, J.D. comes to embrace his family’s indelible imprint on his own personal journey.
Based on J.D. Vance’s #1 New York Times Bestseller and directed by Academy Award winner Ron Howard, HILLBILLY ELEGY is a powerful personal memoir that offers a window into one family’s personal journey of survival and triumph. By following three colorful generations through their unique struggles, J.D.’s family story explores the highs and lows that define his family’s experience.
[Photo Credit: Netflix]