Ron Howard, the director of Solo: A Star Wars Story and more recently Netflix’s Hillbilly Elegy, recently called out film critics for injecting their own personal politics into reviews of Hillbilly Elegy.
The film has a positive audience score of 81% on rotten tomatoes from 725 user ratings. However, the film has a 26% Tomatometer rating from film critics.
The Top Critics score is even worse at 19%. It has 7 fresh and 29 damaged with an average score of 4.7 out of 10.
Critics trashed the film in their reviews. Esther Zuckerman at Thrillist wrote: “For all the authoritative sound and fury of the two main performances, for all the supposed seriousness, it ultimately feels pointless, a pornographic depiction of the poverty of the lives it intends to honor.”
Brian Lowry at CNN wrote: “These would theoretically be juicy roles for Adams and Close, but even with these stars letting go, conversations about the broader cultural and economic challenges the book has sparked are obscured by what feels more like a movie to life.”
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Daniel Newman of the St. Louis Post Dispatch added, “It’s like Howard doesn’t fully understand the people he’s telling the story of, so he feels compelled to force-feed the audience with the obvious points he’s trying to make. to be worth.
Philip De Semlyen for Time Out added, “It may have seemed like an Oscar-winning proposition, but Hillbilly Elegy comes in feeling more like a misjudged, mind-numbing exercise in Hollywood, America’s Heartland.”
Writing to the Independent, Clarisse Loughrey wrote: “A tale that belongs to a writer who refuses to admit his greatest place in the world – and a filmmaker who believes only positive vision can fix the world.
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And Ty Burr of the Boston Globe wrote, “The film is a neoliberal fantasy and disorganized sociopolitical tract. It will probably be nominated for many awards.
Alonso Duralde of TheWrap joked, “He’s not interested in systems that create poverty, dependency and ignorance; he just wants to pretend that a straight white man’s ability to rise above his surroundings means there’s no excuse why everyone else hasn’t done it too.
Howard responded to many of those criticisms during an appearance on CBS’s This Morning alongside Hillbilly Elegy author JD Vance.
Asked about the critics who cut and burned the film, Howard said, “Well look, it’s always hard to tell and critics have a job of seeing something, putting it through their lens, to write and talk about. So I can’t argue with that.
He then added, “I feel like they’re looking at political thematics that they may or may not disagree with that, honestly, aren’t really reflected or aren’t the focus of this story.”
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Howard went on to say, “What I saw was a family drama that could be very relatable. Yes, culturally specific, and if that fascinates you, I hope you find it interesting. If you’re from the area I hope you find it authentic as that was certainly our goal and it was our effort. But I felt it was a bridge to understanding that we are more alike than we are different.
Earlier in the video, Vance detailed his belief that the film resonates with audiences today.
He explained, “Well, I certainly think the response to the film and so many emails and messages I’ve received since the film came out suggests it still resonates.”
“I think a lot of people attach specific political significance, but these issues of family struggle and addiction and resilience, I really think they’re timeless because we still have an addiction problem in this country, just like we do. we did it in 2016, and so I think for a lot of the public it still resonates,” he added.
What do you think of Howard’s comments regarding film critics? Have you seen Hillbilly Elegy? What did you think?