I Do Not Know What This Movie Is About
Hillbilly Elegy | Directed by Ron Howard | Drama | 1 HR 56 MIN
By Anton Charpentier
If you simply looked at the cast of this movie you would think that it would be nothing short of Oscar gold. You have Glenn Close and Amy Adams going head to head in an acting battle of the highest order. At least this is what the trailer would like you to believe and I admit it looks pretty good cut down to two minutes.
It all falls apart quickly into the movie as the editing, writing, and directing just feel so uninspired. I will even go as far to say that all three of these elements actively hamper any potential this movie maybe could have had. For instance, the movie relies heavily on cross cutting between several temporalities in J. D’s life and it never once works in favor of making the film more symbolic or even helps the narrative. If the editor just life the film as a linear story from childhood to adulthood it would make this story way more interesting. Look, it is not like there is anything awful about the movie, but it is missing the last bit of competency to make it a decent movie.
I do want to spend a little time mentioning how great Glenn Close is in this movie. I have nothing bad to say about her performance in this movie as it is simply amazing. Amy Adams is the same, she is here to work, and she does an incredible job. The other actors are fine too, but nothing about their performances are outstanding. Ron Howard and his casting directors did a fine job, but man, all the other aspects of this movie are just so below what they should have been.
I titled this review “I Do Not Know What This Movie Is About” because the movie tries to throw in complex themes and ideas, but I have idea why. For instance, J.D. is watching an Al Gore speech for like two seconds and his Mom turns off the T.V. and he replies “hey, I’m trying to watch Gore”. This thread of democrat vs republican stuff is brought up again and again, but not once does it lead to anything. Seriously, I thought this was going to be something deeper in the movie, but I guess maybe it is a form of foreshadowing for his leaving the south. This confusion is my exact point, I cannot make sense of any of these details, they mean nothing except lengthening the movie by minute.
Hillbilly Elegy is a disappoint airplane movie on a long flight, there is nothing worthwhile in the entire runtime of the movie. I suppose it would be fine in the background on your tablet while you are cooking or something, but this movie is not worth your time and attention. Hillbilly Elegy releases on Netflix November 24th, 2020.