Daniel Johnson’s review published on Letterboxd:
I invited this film into MY HOUSE, and for close to damn near two hours... it pissed on MY RUG. You know how I hard I worked for MY HOUSE and MY RUG?? My MaMAW taught me how to work, and I worked hard for MY HOUSE and MY RUG like my MaMAW taught me how to. Anyway, I graduated from Yale and released a book about my past. I’d recommend it’s good.
I tried to write that opening paragraph in the style of the film... that’s like the whole film. Each scene is mostly just a slight variation of that. And for the almost two hour runtime, this film doesn’t even feel like a narrative... it feels like the same statement just repeated over and over again. I like Ron Howard, I like Amy Adams, and I like Glenn Close. I think they have all proved themselves to be talented artists and storytellers in their previous works... but none of them could’ve turned this into a good film. Despite the “touching” message of “work hard, make money so you’re not poor, bitch... also don’t give up” (I am paraphrasing for entertainment value), there’s just not enough here to make an entertaining film. It just doesn’t work. And I’ve grown up in the same small town my entire life, I’ve seen all types of poverty around me. And I consider myself very lucky and very privileged to live where I live and in the house that I live in, but if you are really wanting to tell a compassionate, human, realistic story about people like this, people that I’ve grown up around my entire life... you’re going to have treat them... like actual people. Not vague silhouettes that look similar to people. Actual people. This film just doesn’t work for a lot of reasons and yet I will not be surprised when it appears on the Academy Awards Shortlist.
Note: My entire life my grandmother has gone by “Mamaw” so it’s almost like I should be able to connect with this story... but then again no lmao.