Netflix Movie Review: Hillbilly Elegy


The new Netflix movie “Hillbilly Elegy” is based on the best selling book that was released several years ago, about a man who made it out of extreme poverty and being raised by a single mother who was a drug addict.

Despite a horrific start in life, the main character in this film J.D. Vance, played by Gabriel Basso became a lawyer and even attended Yale Law school after joining the Army. This is an amazing feat, considering how his life began, and his abusive childhood progressed.

This film has two well known actresses: Glenn Close who plays J.D.s grandmother and Amy Adams as J.D.’s mother and one of the best directors, Ron Howard. Despite all of this, including what I thought was outstanding acting throughout, the critics on Rotten Tomatoes are giving this very strong movie only a 26% rating. In all my years of comparing the opinions of critics, this has to be the all time champion in regards to a group of critics who have no understanding of the the quality and significance of a film. The only good news is that the audience rating on Rotten Tomatoes is a very high 89% – in line with the quality of the screenwriting and acting. A rating of only 26% makes no sense, expecially considering the critical opinions are so completely different than the audience opinion.

Anyone who has a background of poverty or near poverty will appreciate what it is like to live in a situation where there is no hope, no future and no chance. Perhaps the critics who reviewed this film cannot relate to the stark and depressing reality of many millions of people who in so many cases, need miracles to survive. With this story, the poverty also comes with extreme levels of drug addition, with many depressing scenes where J.D.s mother is either shooting heroin, taking pills or overdosing. All of this was well done and well acted.

I agree with the audience rating for Hillbilly Elegy of 89% and highly recommend this movie.

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