578 user 137 critic

Hillbilly Elegy (2020)

R | | Drama | 24 November 2020 (USA)
2:17 | Trailer
An urgent phone call pulls a Yale Law student back to his Ohio hometown, where he reflects on three generations of family history and his own future.


Ron Howard


J.D. Vance (based on the book by), Vanessa Taylor
90 ( 24)
1 win & 6 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Amy Adams ... Bev
Glenn Close ... Mamaw
Gabriel Basso ... J.D. Vance
Haley Bennett ... Lindsay
Freida Pinto ... Usha
Bo Hopkins ... Papaw
Owen Asztalos ... Young J.D. Vance
Jesse C. Boyd ... Matt
Stephen Kunken ... Phillip Roseman
Keong Sim ... Ken
Morgan Gao ... Travis
Ethan Suess ... Chris
Jono Mitchell ... Kevin (as Jonothon Mitchell)
Bill Kelly ... Uncle Pet
David Dwyer ... Uncle Arch

Why Amy Adams Dreamed of Working With Ron Howard

IMDb sits down with Amy Adams, Glenn Close, and the Hillbilly Elegy cast to find out what they learned from working with legendary director Ron Howard.

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Based on the bestselling memoir by J.D. Vance, HILLBILLY ELEGY is a modern exploration of the American Dream and three generations of an Appalachian family as told by its youngest member, a Yale Law student forced to return to his hometown. Written by Netflix

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language throughout, drug content and some violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


Mamaw (Glenn Close) is wearing an oversized t-shirt with a Havenese on it. Glenn's dog Sir Pip (who was on set during filming) is a Havenese. See more »


At the beginning, Bev takes her family back to Ohio from Jackson, Kentucky, the viewer sees a "Welcome to Ohio" sign and they pass over a stone bridge that spans a large creek. However, the entire border between Kentucky and Ohio is the Ohio River, which averages a half-mile across with steel-span bridges at every crossing. See more »


Mamaw: Now get out before I cancel your birth certificate.
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References To Each His Own (1946) See more »


Bound for the Floor
Written by Joseph Daniels and Scott Lucas (as David Lucas)
Performed by Local H
Courtesy of Island Records
Under license from Universal Music Enteprises
See more »

User Reviews

The critics didn't get it
25 November 2020 | by biedrzyckinoahSee all my reviews

As someone who loved the book, the movie was underneath it rating wise but the movie still captures the story and the lessons well. Starting off with the negatives, it focuses too much on the "current day" of the movie setting. Vance in his book talked very briefly about his visit home to Ohio to take care of his mother. The movie needed to focus more on his time in the Marines, how before moving in with Mamaw Lindsey pretty much raised him, JD reuniting with his biological father after he thought he abandoned him, and how Papaw was the only real father figure he had. Including more flashbacks that included these key moments in JD's life would have made the movie much better. Now why the critics didn't get it. The movie might have been too smart with the implications it gave the audience. JD is a conservative that provides a different perspective on why the ills of a culture exist. For social constructionists, the movie doesn't make any sense because it doesn't line up with their worldview. JD believes that people get stuck in a cycle of poverty because the culture they grow up in is inherently negative. If JDs mother grew up in a better house and neighborhood and given the proper guidance, she would have been incredibly successful. The book focuses on this much more where the movie hints at it. At what point can you blame her for being a terrible mother? The only way you can get better, to JD, is if you take responsibility for yourself and slowly get better. JD is an exception. The only reason he didn't end up like his mother was because he got lucky in his youth. Of course he worked hard to improve himself, but he happened to have a good enough social network (early on being Lindsey and Mamaw and later Usha) to nudge him in the right direction. The story is not about JD. It's about his mother, who is in the majority, and about how taking personal responsibility is the only way out. The scene that showed when his grandparents moved to Middletown vs it current day is shown when the factories shut down and the jobs left. This is also the area of the country that helped Donald Trump win in 2016. These people are desperate to escape and JD is writing them a letter on how. The government won't save you so the only way is to do it yourself. The movie and book will resonate more with people who understand that struggle and I feel like the critics who don't understand how Trump won will not understand the point of this story either.

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Frequently Asked Questions

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Release Date:

24 November 2020 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Hillbilly Elegy See more »

Filming Locations:

Macon, Georgia, USA See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Atmos



Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
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