How Amy Adams Reacted When Critics Attacked Her Movie ‘Hillbilly Elegy’

Amy Adams is one of the most acclaimed actors of her generation, however, her Netflix movie Hillbilly Elegy was trashed by the press. Critics felt the film had a certain political subtext. Here’s how she responded to that trashing.

Amy Adams | Mike Marsland/WireImage

Does Amy Adams think her movie ‘Hillbilly Elegy’ is a right-wing film?

Firstly, a little background. Hillbilly Elegy is an adaptation of the book of the same name. Both the book and the film center on a poor family from Middle America. Hillbilly Elegy received lots of criticism for a perceived right-wing bias.

This is notable given the director of the film, Ron Howard, is an outspoken liberal. He even directed Donald Trump’s The Art of the Deal: The Movie. A loose adaptation of Donald Trump’s book of the same name, that film is a scathing satire of the businessman and reality television star who would become the 45th President of the United States. The film, released during Trump’s 2016 campaign, asks viewers to forget Trump ever existed.

So is Hillbilly Elegy a political movie in Adams’ eyes? “I think the themes of this movie are very universal,” Adams told NME. “Whether it be generational trauma, whether it be just examining where we come from to understand where we’re going and who we are. I think the universality of the themes of the movie far transcend politics.”

A trailer for Hillbilly Elegy

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In addition, Adams told the Los Angeles Times that she was interested in acting in Hillbilly Elegy because of her interest in trauma. “Examining generational trauma and how we pass things down from one generation to the next is something I’m interested in — and something I’m trying not to do to my daughter,” Adams revealed. “It’s really about awareness to me.”

Did Amy Adams think critics should lay off politics while reviewing ‘Hillbilly Elegy’?

So how did Adams react to the overwhelming negative response the film garnered from critics? Did she think critics should ignore their politics while viewing the film? “I never would presume to say what critics should or shouldn’t do,” Adams told NME. “Everybody has a voice and can use it how they choose to use it.”

Amy Adams and Glenn Close discussing Hillbilly Elegy

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Did she think the movie relied on stereotypes?

In addition to receiving criticism for its perceived right-wing bias, Hillbilly Elegy also received criticism for having characters that came across more like caricatures of rural people than actual rural people. Interestingly, Adams actually praised the authenticity of the movie’s script. “Ron had the reverence,” Adams told Entertainment Weekly. “He wanted to tell this story about people he recognizes. The script is human and dives so deeply into these familial relationships, and once I paid attention to the truth of this family, I wasn’t as worried about it diving into stereotypes.”

Regardless, the film earned a mere 25% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Hillbilly Elegy was not a critical hit. However, Adams still saw value in it.