Much ink has been spilled over the 2016 memoir Hillbilly Elegy written by conservative voice J.D. Vance, who tells the story of his family’s Appalachian roots and their subsequent move to middle-America, and concludes with his opinions on national economic policy for poor white America. The film immediately dispenses with politics, realizing that exploiting the struggles of his drug-addicted single mother is a salacious silver-screen-ready, white variation on the Black “Welfare Queen” poverty-porn narrative that reliably brings in the big-bucks from upper-middle-class America. Overall Elegy is a fairly entertaining if somewhat predictable romp; Glenn Close (in a metric-ton of unrealistic old-lady makeup) is the gem of this film as Mamaw, a take-no-prisoners matriarch who single-handedly tries to save her family with off-color jokes and a pack of menthols. A likeable Gabriel Basso plays the older Vance, painfully coming to terms with realizing that he cannot save his family. In a meaty role for someone so young, Owen Asztalos does an excellent job as young Vance, posturing pained and petulant through some tough depictions of child neglect and physical abuse. Somewhat miscast, Amy Adams plays the trashy single mother Bev, who fights through and brightens a script that is little more than a series of obligatory tragic “bad mom” scenes pasted together with a dab of an emotional arc. While one cannot quibble with the reality of Vance’s personal recollection, director Ron Howard’s decision to not take more creative license with the narrative gives the film the feeling of a jello mold that hasn’t fully set.