| Release Date: September 28, 2018
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HollerbackDec 6, 2018
"Hillbilly" isn't about the history, culture, and economics of Appalachia. It's a petty, narrow-minded, quasi-autobiographical account from a guilt-ridden, now LA-based, self-proclaimed feminist progressive filmmaker and Hillary devotee -"Hillbilly" isn't about the history, culture, and economics of Appalachia. It's a petty, narrow-minded, quasi-autobiographical account from a guilt-ridden, now LA-based, self-proclaimed feminist progressive filmmaker and Hillary devotee - albeit originally from Appalachia, but well-steeped in the sanctimonious virtue-signaling of Hollywood and liberal urban America.

The film is a jumble of mixed messages and troubling cognitive dissonance, sourced entirely from contemporary identity politics and culture wars. Its primary aim is to portray Appalachian people as a perpetual victim group of the media, politicians, and capitalism itself (exactly like African-Americans, immigrants, and homosexuals!) but simultaneously a group with no real agency or the will to accept "correct" political affiliations. In other words, "forgive them, for they not know what they do!" What did they do? En masse, they voted for Trump. A candidate who championed them, over a candidate (Hillary) who explicitly called them a "basket of deplorables." A candidate who said she was going to "put coal miners out of business". Appalachia (and much of "fly-over" country) voted for Trump? No kidding. Why wouldn't they? Hillary consistently talked down to them. She spoke of them wretchedly.

So, the film tries hard to make Appalachian hillbillies a sympathetic people, but still, callously and irresponsibly, a dumb and easily manipulated people. "When will they ever learn?" is the message. The filmmaker tries to reconcile her guilt and disappointment by focusing on the African-American, homosexual, punk rock hipster, and liberal "intelligentsia" of Appalachia - the few folks who truly see the light! The filmmaker doesn't take a broad view of the region and its people, rather an extremely biased and narrow view designed to appease an urban liberal audience. You see guys, hillbillies are really just like us - if only we could show them the way!

The filmmaker never once interviews a Trump supporter, or anyone with a divergent political opinion or outlook, except members of her own adorable family. A cheap move, made even cheaper by the end of the film where the parting message is that her own granny harbored desires of leaving Appalachia as a young woman but was forced to remain, due to its oppressive patriarchal social structure. You see, granny was a progressive feminist all along y'all - just a victim of circumstance.

Though "Hillbilly" and its filmmaker are well-intentioned (aren't all social progressives?) it misses the mark and betrays its own mission statement spectacularly. While it portrays Appalachian people as victims of outside forces, it also portrays them as victims of their own ignorant and savage impulses.

That message, folks, is what's truly deplorable.
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