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Netflix Just Released the Trailer for Hillbilly Elegy and It’s Rightfully Getting Skewered: Watch

on October 14, 2020, 5:05pm

Netflix has released the first trailer for Ron Howard’s new film Hillbilly Elegy. The multi-generational addiction drama stars Amy Adams and Glenn Close, a pairing alone that should make the movie a highly anticipated feature — but instead, it’s already been met with a mixed reaction on social media.

Hillbilly Elegy follows Gabriel Basso, a former Marine and current Yale Law student, as he returns to his Appalachian home in southern Ohio to take care of his mother Bev, as played by Adams, who’s struggling with addiction. During the trip, he’s forced to reckon with his childhood, his upbringing, and his troubled family, including his terse grandmother, played by Close. Both Hans Zimmer and David Fleming contribute to the score.

The trailer sees Adams and Close bringing this plot to life in worn-down clothing, strung-out makeup, and all sorts of bleak visuals meant to invoke both sympathy and scorn for the lower-class area. Considering the two actresses have racked up 13 Oscar nominations combined, some are speculating this new movie could finally earn them a belated win.

The plot sounds inoffensive enough when summarized, but the problem is where it stems from. Hillbilly Elegy is an adaptation of J.D. Vance’s incredibly popular 2016 memoir of the same name. Vaance, a venture capitalist and proud Republican, was heavily criticized by readers and critics alike for his inaccurate depiction of rural residents in the Appalachians, particularly for applying his personal experience to everyone around him, failing to acknowledge the region’s cultural diversity, and applying ruthless tropes and negative stereotypes with reckless abandon.


So unsurprisingly, the trailer has received mixed reaction on social media. “Hillbilly Elegy is Right Wing propaganda that actively promotes Reaganomics, the poor as deserving of their suffering, and intentionally obscures racism and white supremacy as major factors in America’s decline,” wrote author Jared Yates Sekton.

“If you didn’t read Hillbilly Elegy like I did in 2016,” tweeted comedian Julia Claire, “it’s a book about a guy who grows up poor in the Rust Belt and becomes successful but chooses to learn nothing in the process.”

Meanwhile, Defector Media co-founder David Roth mocked the film for having “That Netflix Look,” which he described as “a cinematic style that effortlessly delivers the experience of wandering aimlessly through the set on a weekday morning and catching the cast standing around eating baby carrots from craft services.”

See the trailer for yourself below, and indulge in some Twitter reactions after the jump. It’s set to premiere on Netflix on November 24th.