Hillbilly Elegy

Hillbilly Elegy was a film that I went back and forth on many times before settling on watching it. At the end of the day, I didn’t really know much about it except for the fact that it was getting a lot of awards buzz. Overall I am glad that I checked it out though I am still unsure as to how I feel about it.

For his whole life, JD Vance (Owen Asztalos) has dealt with his mother Bev’s (Amy Adams) rollercoaster lifestyle of using drugs. Together with his sister Lindsay (Haley Bennett), they always hoped something would change. Lucky for them they had their Mamaw (Glenn Close) for help if they ever needed.

When he’s older, JD (Gabrile Basso) has finally managed to get away from his toxic upbringing and is studying at Yale University. Trying to make a name for himself with the support of his girlfriend Usha (Freida Pinto), he is surprised when he receives a call from Lindsay that his mother has had an overdose. Unsure of what to do, he eventually finds his way back to the life and home he left behind so many years ago.

Amy Adams slayed her role as Bev. I have seen quite a few of her films and this one was on a completely different level from what she has done in the past. Glenn Close, similarly, was also a standout. I definitely agree with everyone who has said that this is the year they will get their Oscars. The whole transformation set that in stone.

Now this is where my confusion comes in. I’m just not sure the effect that this film had on me. It is a film about substance abuse and how so many people grapple with it on a daily basis and I think it’s a good thing that Hillbilly Elegy decided to focus on the topic. I’m pleased that it was illustrated in such a raw and realistic way.

I guess what I’m saying is that the movie was hard for me to watch at times. It made me sad and left me with a heavy heart. At least that means that the message was brought across properly.

Rating: ♥♥♥

One thought on “Hillbilly Elegy

  1. Interesting to read your review since I listened to the book awhile back. The book is non-fiction and the focus is NOT on his mother’s struggle with substance abuse (though that is part of the problem) but more about examining the lifestyle of people living in areas people consider to be full of “hillbillies” and how when he went away to college, he learned about life outside that small town and how the world worked and it really changed his worldview. But that is the problem with making a movie instead of a documentary.


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