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Hillbilly Elegy (2020)

There are only a handful of films that truly showcase why I love cinema and Hillbilly Elegy (2020) is by far one of the most emotionally draining and connected movies I have had the pleasure of watching. It is rare that I am almost speechless after watching a piece of cinema but after this movie I am truly breathless and taken aback by the astounding connection I felt towards this story and its characters. An army of chaotic and mesmerising people storm through this story, each one more beautifully performed than the last and all based off of real people and their real lives.


Hillbilly Elegy (2020) is a depiction of growth but most importantly family. The story is heavily based of the memoir of the same name, about a family and culture in crisis, written by J. D. Vance his 2016 memoir is about the Appalachian values of his Kentucky family and their relation to the social problems of his hometown of Middletown, Ohio. Essentially the film is a montage of both the past and the present through J. D’s perspective, we witness his relationship with his estranged yet loving mother and his brutal yet affectionate grandmother. We embark on a heart breaking journey as J.D is stretched to choose between his mother or his grandmother as a child and as an adult he is forced to choose between his heritage or his future. His decisions are poignant because we grow to love him and his family, as a viewer I did not want to have to see J.D struggle through life and barely keep it together which made the impact of this true story even more compelling.


Let’s discuss the elephant in the room, Glenn Close and Amy Adams. Two sensational actors who, in my opinion, gave us one of their best performances to date. Glenn Close was unrecognisable both physically and mentally, she was transformed into her character mind, body and soul and it was so captivating to watch. Most actors would be overshadowed or lost trying to complete with Close but Amy Adams holds her own beautifully. Adams, who plays Close’s daughter is absolutely breathtaking in her performance, she captures the essence of a mother struggling to stay sane for her children, she is the character and to me acting doesn’t get any better than that. These women weren’t ‘acting’ they were ‘being’ and it was such a pleasure to watch them both execute such memorable performances that will stay with me for a long time.


To conclude, Hillbilly Elegy was a long winded drama that took both time and emotional effort to finish, although these sound like negatives I mean quite the opposite. It has been a long time since a movie has worn me out emotionally like this, I felt drained but also completely enlightened, it was truly fascinating to watch such a struggle for young J,D but watch him overcome all of his obstacles and still continue to stomp all stereotypes and succeed despite his disadvantages. I true coming of age journey, but this time it all really happened.

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Welcome to Film Probe, a platform where I have dedicated my time and energies to reviewing films, tv and more. I pride myself on offering more than just an opinion, but rather a carefully crafted insight into the film's themes, characters, and overall production.

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