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‘Hillbilly Elegy’: New Netflix film is raw and emotional reflection on family hardships

5/5 Stars

Alongside their newly released holiday movies, Netflix also released a heart-wrenching, intimate film that inspires and leaves a lasting impression. Based on the best-selling book of the same name, “Hillbilly Elegy” gives viewers a look into the effects that drug addiction can have on families, and teaches us that family is forever, even if they aren’t perfect.

“Hillbilly Elegy” was released on Netflix on Nov. 11, 2020. This film has a run time of 1 hour and 57 minutes, and is the perfect movie to sit down and watch with a warm cup of hot chocolate and a cozy blanket this winter season.

Starring Golden Globe award winner Amy Adams as Beverly Vance, the cast of “Hillbilly Elegy” doesn’t disappoint. Supporting actors include Gabriel Basso as J.D. Vance, Glenn Close as Bonnie “Mamaw” Vance and Haley Bennett as Lindsay Vance. Adams is well-known for her roles in “Arrival,” “Enchanted” and “American Hustle.”

Based on the true story written by J.D. Vance, the film follows the hardships he and his sister Lindsay endured while growing up with their drug-addicted mother Beverly. Having dealt with multiple fights with his mother, moving homes numerous times and struggling to take care of himself with little support, J.D. Vance creates a future for himself by eventually making it to law school at Yale University. During his interview week at Yale, J.D. Vance gets a call from his sister back home revealing that his mother was hospitalized from a drug overdose and that he needed to come home. He was forced to put his career on the line, trying to get his mother the help and support she needed whether or not she wanted the help. During his time home, he reflects back on both his childhood and his mother’s childhood, realizing the importance of family regardless of the rocky road that comes with it.

“Hillbilly Elegy” is a true tear-jerker, as it portrays traumatic subjects like drug use, family abuse, J.D. Vance’s difficult childhood and the reality of life for some people. The behaviors and decisions made by Beverly in this film give viewers insight as to how serious of an issue it can be. This film also teaches viewers that your upbringing doesn’t define your success in the future. No matter where one’s roots are, one can still create a fulfilling life and go above and beyond.

The setting in this film realistically shows the living conditions for those struggling from paycheck to paycheck in America. Nothing is sugar-coated in this movie, creating the most effective and real feeling it possibly can for viewers to grasp the full picture of poverty and substance abuse. The point J.D. Vance was trying to get across that his book was translated perfectly to film. The most important takeaway is that reality can be hard to face, but it is ultimately what makes us human.

If people of all ages are looking for an inspiring movie about how love for family is above all else no matter the obstacles, “Hillbilly Elegy” is a must-watch. It sheds light on what is most important in life, and how despite the hardships faced, there is always hope to become bigger and better in this world, overcoming anything that is thrown your way.

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