The engrossing story of a close-knit family who lived in the valleys of Appalachia, Kentucky for over 7 generations/
''American Hollow,' concentrates on three family dramas. One strand involves Iree's and Bass's son Edgar, who is arrested for trespassing and held in the county jail for 17 days when the family is unable to come up with $2,500 in bail money. The charges are eventually withdrawn. Another involves Samantha, Iree's granddaughter, who is in the process of divorcing her abusive husband, Jody. Samantha, who is devoted to their two children, stoically tells of beatings and threats on her life, and we see the damage Jody wreaked in their trailer during one of his rages.
The most poignant thread follows Clint, a skinny, redheaded 18-year-old grandson of Iree's who, against his family's advice, is determined to marry his angel-faced 17-year-old sweetheart, Shirley. But when she breaks off the engagement, the brokenhearted Clint falls to pieces and eventually leaves the hollow to try his luck in Cincinnati, where an uncle has agreed to take him in.
''American Hollow'' is a richly atmospheric movie that takes pains to emphasize the positive aspects of the Bowlings' rural existence as well as the hard realities of their situation.