Ron Howard hits back over bad reviews of his new movie 'Hillbilly Elegy'

Watch: Amy Adams responds to Hillbilly Elegy criticism

Ron Howard has said that critics of his new movie Hillbilly Elegy are treating the movie unfairly, and associating it too closely with current political divides in the US.

Republican and venture capitalist J.D. Vance penned the source material for the movie; his memoir of the same name published in 2016, which chronicles his own family's poor upbringing in working class Ohio.

Howard suggests that some critics could be rounding on either Vance himself or the demographic shown in the movie, the white working class Americans, many of whom would have voted for Donald Trump.

Ron Howard arrives at the Vanity Fair Oscar Party on Sunday, Feb. 9, 2020, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)
Ron Howard (Credit: Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

In a joint interview with Vance, Howard told CBS News: “I do feel like they're looking at political thematics that they may or may not agree with, that honestly aren't really reflected or aren't front-and-center in this story.

“What I saw was a family drama that could be very relatable. Yes, culturally specific, and if you're fascinated by that, I hope you find it interesting. If you're from the region, I hope you find it authentic, because that was our aim and effort. But I felt it was a bridge to understanding that we're more alike than we are different.”

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He went on: “I felt that there was an interesting, contemporary story here: a truthful family drama. I was drawn to that. I also felt it was an interesting emotional rescue and survival story that really celebrated the women in [Vance's] life.”

Vance added that 'a lot of people attach a specific political significance' to the story, despite a lack of overt politics or political opinion expressed on screen.

Glenn Close in Hillbilly Elegy (Credit: Netflix)
Glenn Close in Hillbilly Elegy (Credit: Netflix)

Nonetheless, the movie, which stars Glenn Close and Amy Adams, has received some withering reviews.

The Atlantic has called it 'one of the worst movies of the year', while The Observer called it 'misjudged' and 'a hackneyed adaptation of a rags-to-riches memoir'.

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The AV Club, meanwhile, called it 'bootstrapping poverty porn'.

Despite the reviews, Close is said to be in the running for the Best Actress Oscar for her transformative role as the family's matriarch, Bonnie 'Mamaw' Vance.

The movie is streaming now on Netflix.

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