Amy Adams and Glenn Close star in the Ron Howard-directed film, which was adapted from the J.D. Vance memoir and premieres on Netflix in November
Despite its best-seller status, which has led to an inevitable new film that is already generating Oscar buzz in the weeks leading up to its November streaming release on Netflix, J.D. Vance's 2016 memoir Hillbilly Elegy is far from universally beloved.
In Appalachian Reckoning: A Region Responds to Hillbilly Elegy, an anthology that surfaced just last year, a handful of Appalachian writers pushed back against Vance's conservative moralizing and his tendency to twist personal anecdotes into broad, cultural generalizations that do disservice to the region. "It is one thing to write a personal memoir extolling the wisdom of one’s personal choices but quite something else — something extraordinarily audacious — to presume to write the ‘memoir’ of a culture,” writes Dwight B. Billings, a professor of Appalachian studies at the University of Kentucky.
On Twitter, music writer Marissa Moss recounted an interview with Sturgill Simpson (who broke some awesome news of his own today) in which the country singer and songwriter talked about being asked to contribute music to the film's soundtrack. "You should have seen the credits," he said. "The characters are like 'holler girl one and two.'"
Judging by the other quote that Moss shared, which you can view below, it's a safe bet that you won't find Simpson's name among the list of soundtrack contributors when the thing finally drops.
"I’ll give this to J.D. [Vance] - like so many coastal elites that have come to eastern KY to point out all its problems, much like them he offered no solutions, but just found a way to get fucking paid for it. Twice." - Sturgill Simpson https://t.co/15NhMXIxof— Marissa R. Moss (@MarissaRMoss) October 14, 2020
Keeping all of this in mind, Netflix released a new trailer for the film today, which does little to dispel the lazy narrative of "personal responsibility" that runs through the memoir and to which Vance appears to attribute many of the region's struggles.
At least Amy Adams' performance looks great, though.