Magazine December 31, 2020, Issue

What Explains the Movie Critics’ Loathing of Hillbilly Elegy?

Glenn Close in Hillbilly Elegy (Netflix)

In the summer of 2016, I went into a bookstore in Maine looking for a book that I thought my wife would like to read — a memoir about growing up as the heir to rural Appalachian culture and passing from that world into the gilded precincts of the meritocracy, written by a guy I knew a little bit through a few mutual friends in Washington, D.C. 

The bookstore was a safe space for a certain kind of New England lefty politics, with Bernie bumper stickers sharing wall space with New Age slogans, and a curated display of political titles that

This article appears as “More Interesting Than Its Reputation” in the December 31, 2020, print edition of National Review.

Something to Consider

If you enjoyed this article, we have a proposition for you: Join NRPLUS. Members get all of our content (including the magazine), no paywalls or content meters, an advertising-minimal experience, and unique access to our writers and editors (conference calls, social-media groups, etc.). And importantly, NRPLUS members help keep NR going. Consider it?

If you enjoyed this article, and were stimulated by its contents, we have a proposition for you: Join NRPLUS.


In This Issue



Books, Arts & Manners



The Latest