Hillbilly Elegy: Amy Adams responds to bad reviews of ‘sickeningly irresponsible’ film

Ellie Harrison
·1-min read
Amy Adams in Hillbilly Elegy (Lacey Terrell/NETFLIX)
Amy Adams in Hillbilly Elegy (Lacey Terrell/NETFLIX)

Amy Adams has responded to the negative reviews of her new film Hillbilly Elegy, saying that the themes of the movie “transcend politics”.

Hillbilly Elegy – a drama about the white, working-class Appalachian community based on JD Vance’s controversial 2016 memoir – was described by The Independent’s critic Clarisse Loughrey as “a sickeningly irresponsible parade of death and despair”.

Directed by Ron Howard, it has been widely criticised for perpetuating stereotypes about the poor, and Vox’s Alissa Wilkinson called it “a tone-deaf attempt to assuage a very particular kind of liberal guilt by reifying the very thing that caused the guilt in the first place”. It currently holds a 25% rating on reviews aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes.

When asked about the reviews that have criticised the film’s politics, Adams told NME: “I think the themes of this movie are very universal. Whether it be generational trauma, whether it be just examining where we come from to understand where we’re going and who we are, I think the universality of the themes of the movie far transcend politics.”

Her co-star Glenn Close added: “The film wasn’t made with politics in mind, it was made with Ron’s intent. I think he succeeded magnificently to tell the story of a very specific family.”

In regards to whether critics should set their politics aside when reviewing films, Adams said: “I never would presume to say what critics should or shouldn’t do, everybody has a voice and can use it how they choose to use it.”

Hillbilly Elegy is out now on Netflix.

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