Amy Adams earned her first Oscar nomination way back in 2005 for a tiny little film called Junebug, and she was great as pregnant southern belle naive to the world and enamored with her big-city visitor. She breaks that accent out for the first time in a while in Hillbilly Elegy, Ron Howard’s adaptation of J.D. Vance’s bestselling memoir that became an explanation/apology for angry Trump voters in 2016.
Joining Adams in the film are Glenn Close, Gabriel Basso, Haley Bennett, Frieda Pinto, and Bo Hopkins, telling the story of three generations of an Appalachian family.The story follows an ex-soldier and Yale law student who returns to his childhood home in Ohio where he faces a complex family history of poverty, addiction, and resentment that he hoped to never come back to.
The script was penned by Vanessa Taylor, who earned an Oscar nomination for co-writing The Shape of Water with Guillermo Del Toro.
A lot of talent on this one, but I’d be lying if I said this holds any interest to me beyond the presence of Adams. Hillbilly Elegy drove me nuts because every commentator used as shorthand to explain why midwestern white folks were voting against their own best interests. You don’t see that kind of focus on ANY other voting group. The movie looks fairly basic, however, with Adams in the flashiest role she’s had in some time. Looks like she’ll have some epic battles with Close, too.
Hillbilly Elegy opens in select theaters and Netflix on November 24th.