Screening Room: ‘Hillbilly Elegy’

Ron Howard’s adaptation of J.D. Vance’s bestselling memoir of dysfunction (societal and familial) is pretty much what you would expect. Hillbilly Elegy is playing now in limited release and hitting Netflix on November 24. Who knows? Glenn Close might get an Oscar.

My review is at Slant:

After the election of 2016, many shellshocked Americans sought out books to help rationalize Donald Trump’s victory over Hillary Clinton. One of those books was J.D. Vance’s Hillbilly Elegy, a memoir about the culture of his Kentucky Appalachian family, many of whom moved to Ohio but never quite adjusted to life there. Vance used his book to highlight what he saw as his people’s failure to raise themselves out of poverty, seeming to blame them for self-destructive cycles of addiction, violence, and dependency. While Ron Howard’s adaptation showcases those same societal ills, it takes a more personal and less sociological approach. By zeroing in so closely on Vance’s family melodrama at the expense of the broader forces at play, the film produces a generic narrative…

Here’s the trailer:

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