Sign Up: Stay on top of the latest breaking film and TV news! It is an adaptation of J.D. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. “Hillbilly Elegy” will be released into select theaters on Wednesday, November 11. may not have a GPS, but if he just follows the shouting he should be able to find his way back to Middletown soon enough. As new movies open in theaters during the COVID-19 pandemic, IndieWire will continue to review them whenever possible. I've studied the film industry, both academically and informally, and with an emphasis in box office analysis, for nearly 30 years. 'Bombay Rose' Trailer: Netflix's First Animated Feature from India Arrives This December, 'Chick Fight' Review: Malin Akerman Tries to Charm Her Way Through a Phony Feminist 'Fight Club', The All-Time Greatest Films Directed by Women, 'Euphoria' Wins Emmy for Contemporary Makeup. Netflix’s Hillbilly Elegy is not a politically problematic movie, just a bad one . Hillbilly Elegy Review: Um, At Least Netflix's Oscar-Bait Will Give Us Some Good Glenn Close Memes Netflix's 2020 Original Movies and TV Shows: A Complete Guide Watch This Now! As a film, I say head to the hills. Vance’s memoir which was famously devoured by the pundit class in the aftermath of the 2016 presidential election precisely because it was believed to have political wisdom in terms of the stereotypical Donald Trump voter. "Get that calculator or don' bother gettin' back in," she says with a deadly seriousness, that, if nothing else, will make the marketing department at Texas Instruments smile. Rating: F Hillbilly Elegy will be released on Netflix on November 24th. With those enormous glasses, a range of goofy faces itching to get memed, and truly laughable lines, like dividing all of humanity into "good Terminator, bad Terminator, and neutral," Close has given champions of camp cinema a treasure for the ages. It's a weird world and this is a particularly weird year. The dinner scene in which his girlfriend (Freida Pinto) talks him through the finer points of salad forks is so broad that it makes “Titanic” feel like a Straub-Huillet film by comparison. (Glenn Close plays the matriarch, Mamaw.) It comes at the worst time, as J.D. returns home to try and find his mother another bed at an affordable rehab center and another offering flashbacks to happier days and childhood challenges. Cutting between J.D.’s teenage years in Middletown, Ohio and the fateful night more than a decade later when he gets summoned home from New Haven on the eve of a life-altering job interview, Taylor’s script is structured like a vortex that sucks the present back into the past and creates a centrifugal force that holds the movie together on top of its hollow core. Heck, the idea that JD can succeed where his mother did not as long as he just commits isn’t far off from A Beautiful Mind whereby Russell Crowe’s schizophrenic professor simply snaps out of it after realizing the scientific impossibility of his hallucinations. There are a handful of reasons why “Hillbilly Elegy” is more affecting in the less recent of its parallel timelines. (Owen Asztalos), a young boy who’s wise beyond his years. He is called back to Ohio on the eve of a big interview when his mother, Bev, ends up in the hospital with a drug overdose. might be abandoning his mother in her hour of need, but this is undercut when he says his sister is on the way. TV Guide's weekend editor breaks down the week's best, worst, and weirdest TV moments. It goes without saying that the film doesn’t touch on trickle-down economics and the outsourcing/automation of American labor, the Reagan-era gutting of public education and social programs or the over-prescription of Oxycontin. I have extensively written about all of said subjects for the last 11 years. Stay on top of the latest breaking film and TV news! Netflix is adapting the best selling book from 2016 called Hillbilly Elegy by J. D. Vance and has recruited Ron Howard to direct it. Copyright © 2020 Penske Business Media, LLC. By ignoring the very specific politics and personal observations that made the book allegedly valuable as a memoir, the film negates its very reason for existing. Hillbilly Elegy plays like “privileged” Hollywood outsiders looking in with pity so as to assuage their white liberal guilt. Amy Adams does a whole lot of acting as Vance’s tempestuous mother, Glenn Close gets to wear a Brillo pad wig and cosplay as a flame-throwing granny who says things like “I wouldn’t spit on her ass if her guts were on fire,” and the whole thing ends with some canned voiceover about how “Where we come from is who we are, but we choose every day who we become.” It’s that kind of movie. Hillbilly Elegy hits select theaters on Nov. 11 and Netflix on Nov. 24. Interviews with leading film and TV creators about their process and craft. Ron Howard’s Hillbilly Elegy, debuting in theaters today and on Netflix There's a moment toward the end when you think J.D. For Close, who seems to have the same amount of screen time as Adams but is nevertheless positioned by award-watching websites as angling for a supporting nod, she gets to "ugly up" with a ton of prosthetics, try a regional dialect, and spew forth insults under the guise of tough love. Your new favorite show is right here. And yet the film can’t commit to its own bit, not unlike Howard’s oatmeal adaptation of The Da Vinci Code which hilariously bent over backward to avoid the controversies that turned the Dan Brown novel into an airport/beach read sensation. J.D.’s mom Bev is a drug-addicted nurse who pinballs between men and slips opioids into her pocket at work — she does everything to the fullest extent a human being can, whether that’s sticking up for her kids or beating the hell out of her “fatass” son when he complains about her romantic instability. Even the 2005 Dukes of Hazzard movie gently mocked the Confederacy in a “corrupt rich white guys distract poor white people while they undermine laws and institutions” plot that seemed right out of What’s the Matter with Kansas? I have extensively written about all. Hillbilly Elegy is a movie that professes to care about poverty and family, and quickly shows it’s indifferent towards either. All it's got is Glenn Close and her ridiculous mugging. That said, the singularity of J.D.’s story seems to negate some of the social implications. In a vacuum, both in terms of the political atmosphere and the Oscar race, it is well acted, handsomely staged and offers passive entertainment. Oddly enough, blank-slate J.D.’s moments with girlfriend Usha (Freida Pinto) have more entertainment value and charm than the main event. Basso's J.D. Howard is a world-famous mensch, and the very existence of his latest film is nothing short of an Oscar-worthy mitzvah. Nothing really happens in this film. Hours before the interview that could permanently cement his place in high society, J.D. There's no Nicole Kidman clapping, but they're close, In a shocking upset, Colman defeated heavy favorite Glenn Close, The show, which has been besieged by controversy, is almost here, Sandra Oh, Rachel Brosnahan and a Best Actress tie (!! Haley Bennett (“Lindsay”), Gabriel Basso (J.D. Follow me at @ScottMendelson and "like" The Ticket Booth on Facebook. J.D. Download the TV Guide app for iPhone, iPad and Android! We then jump back and forth, to witness his struggles growing up, and how his Mamaw, by forcing him to stop being lazy and to do the dishes, bent his arc toward wealth and freedom. And Hillbilly Elegy lacks the unusual setting of, say, What's Eating Gilbert Grape? It will stir no controversy, enflame the minimum number of thinkpieces demanded by the moment (most of which will focus on the value of such a blandly “purple” movie at the height of our red/blue divide), and earn a party favor’s worth of awards for its cast. Amy Adams has been nominated for an Oscar six times, only to watch someone else win it. as an open-mouthed observer who’s basically spent his entire life rubbernecking at his own family; his story begins 1997, when his photogenic clan (including an underwritten sister played by the always believable Haley Bennet) relocates to the Rust Belt and the kid starts to realize that his circumstances are a product of the hope that his grandparents lost somewhere along Route 23. To the film’s credit, Hillbilly Elegy doesn’t argue that JD, his mother and his cantankerous and tough-love grandpa (Glenn Close, treating her character as no less a “character” than Cruella de Vil) are representative of everyone in their community. As for the film itself, it's really too flat to get worked up about. Comments. Sign up for our Email Newsletters here. We encourage readers to follow the safety precautions provided by CDC and health authorities. We who chat about them seem convinced that some would do just about anything for that holiest of grails, the Oscar statuette. Anchored by awards-friendly turns from Amy Adams and Glenn Close, Hillbilly Elegy is a film that can disappoint liberals and conservatives equally. A shot of Close holding one of J.D.’s algebra chests to her heart like a love letter from the future is powerful enough to cut through all the hokum around it. Some will feel seen, others will feel excused from looking closer, and most will feel nothing.
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