adaptation of J.D Vance’s memoir underachieves

“Hillbilly Elegy,” J.D. Vance’s 2016 memoir, won praise for its insight into the forgotten folk whose poverty and hopelessness prompted them to embrace Donald Trump as a political force. That sociology aspect is mostly lost in Netflix’s dreary movie adaptation, which focuses on one family trapped in a circular pattern of dysfunction, and how the son escaped it.

Haley Bennett, Gabriel Basso, Amy Adams sitting posing for the camera: Haley Bennett, Gabriel Basso and Amy Adams in 'Hillbilly Elegy' (Lacey Terrell/Netflix)

© Lacey Terrell/NETFLIX/Lacey Terrell/NETFLIX
Haley Bennett, Gabriel Basso and Amy Adams in ‘Hillbilly Elegy’ (Lacey Terrell/Netflix)

Although Vance is ostensibly the center of this story — played by Gabriel Basso as a Yale Law student, and Owen Asztalos as a teenager — the movie is understandably preoccupied with the key women in his life, his mother Bev (Amy Adams) and foul-mouthed grandmother Mamaw (Glenn Close).

The story picks up with the older J.D. at Yale, interviewing for positions with snooty law firms and feeling conspicuously out of place alongside the blue-blooded, legacy

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