Movie | New film Hillbilly Elegy replaces complex characters with a mediocre Appalachian melodrama
by Megan Basham
Posted 11/19/20, 09:06 am
Like many people, I had high hopes when Ron Howard decided to direct a film adaptation of Hillbilly Elegy, J.D. Vance’s memoir about growing up in Appalachia and the Rust Belt. The book became an immediate bestseller in 2016, not just for Vance’s insightful reflection on a much-maligned subculture, but also because he seemed to offer the upper classes a way of making sense of Donald Trump’s popularity.
Unfortunately, Howard’s version of Vance’s story offers nothing deeper than a pastiche of white poverty.