Let’s get the Hillbilly Elegy ending explained as audiences flock to see the 2020 movie on Netflix. There has been some backlash.

Despite the problems which have and continue to plague the film industry, audiences have been offered a wealth of notable titles so far this year.

Although blockbusters like No Time to Die and Dune have been pushed back, Christopher Nolan’s Tenet welcomed many back to cinemas in the summer and the likes of Bill and Ted Face the Music, Spree, Unhinged and more made it to the big screen.

On the other hand, film fans have been invited to check out some of the year’s most anticipated films courtesy of Netflix.

They have released such efforts as Da 5 Bloods, Extraction, I’m Thinking of Ending Things, The Devil All the Time and beyond.

On Tuesday, November 24th 2020, they rolled out Hillbilly Elegy, directed by Ron Howard and based on J.D. Vance’s 2016 memoir.

Now, let’s reflect on the narrative and consider the Hillbilly Elegy ending…


Hillbilly Elegy ending explained

We flit between J.D. in his youth and adulthood as he goes to Middletown to visit his mother. He feels guilt when it comes to Lindsay, his sister, who never left their hometown but now has a family there.

Lindsay was left to care for their mother and he can’t help but feel like he is partly responsible for her never being able to venture out. However, Lindsay found love, established a family of her own and is a good mother. It may not be what J.D. perceives as success, but it can be considered as such all the same.

Things become complicated when J.D. learns that he’s gone through to a final round of interviews, but his responsibility to the family poses a threat to his aspirations. On the other hand, Lindsay steps in, knowing that she and the family will be blamed if he doesn’t become the success he envisions.

Then there is the issue of his girlfriend, Usha, whom he keeps his family hidden from. Once again, Lindsay offers her wisdom and argues that he must introduce them, which turns out well.

He talks about Usha to Bev, who refuses rehab and then has an altercation with her boyfriend who kicks her out.

J.D. takes her to a motel but then has to stop her from injecting heroin. She once had a promising future but her life took a turn, which is why Mamaw essentially took J.D. on. She felt that she had failed to save and raise Bev right and saw J.D. as another shot.

When J.D. does arrive at the interview, he achieves clarity and understands that his family is a part of him, no matter how problematic elements of it may be. However, he knows that he has his own life to pursue.

We end on information that the real J. D. Vance and Usha married and had two children, while Bev has been six-years sober. She is now very focused on caring for her grandchildren and it turns out that J.D relocated to Ohio.

The film can be interpreted universally, encouraging us never to deny where we come from, but also never allowing our pasts to prevent us from achieving our goals.

There has been backlash

Both the film and book have received backlash and The Hill notes that some audiences/readers have argued that Vance is looking down on the communities portrayed in the material, while others argue that he is profiting off one-dimensional depictions of Appalachia.

A number of writers published Appalachian Reckoning: A Region Responds to ‘Hillbilly Elegy’ in 2019, which includes poems, photographs, memoirs and comics. In it, Betsy Rader – an Ohio Democrat – wrote:

“Vance’s sweeping stereotypes are shark bait for conservative policymakers. They feed into the mythology that the undeserving poor make bad choices and are to blame for their own poverty, so taxpayer money should not be wasted in programs to help lift people out of poverty.”

However, some of the responses in the book are positive about Vance’s work.

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