The Glass Castle (2017)

Brie Larson, Woody Harrelson, Naomi Watts, Ella Anderson,
A young girl comes of age in a dysfunctional family of nonconformist nomads with a mother who's an eccentric artist and an alcoholic father who would stir the children's imagination with hope as a distraction to their poverty.
  • 7.1 /10.0 IMDB Rating:
  • DatePublished:
  • 2018-09-07 Added:
  • Andrew Lanham, Jeannette Walls, Writer:
  • Destin Daniel Cretton, Director:
  • Ken Kao, Gil Netter, Producer:


9/10 / 10

As the sister of someone extremely like Rex, I was disturbed, heart-broken, and reminded of my life growing up with an unpredictable,intelligent, unstable, and sometimes very charming man. His childrenloved him inexplicably but they are still living with the effects oftheir tumultuous life.

This movie, in my opinion, was fabulous. It was well paced and the dualstory lines of past and current day melded beautifully. All of theacting was superb. Woody Harrelson deserves an Academy Award and all ofthe child actors were phenomenal. I was especially impressed by EllaAnderson who played young Jeannette. She expressed so clearly heremotions, both love, hurt, and anger at her father and with that Ibelieve she also deserves kudos.

Go see this movie if you enjoy deep, emotional, thought-provokingfilms.

8/10 / 10

I read the book many years ago when it first came out and found itfascinating. The film may not be up to some people's wants - there isnot enough time to tell the whole story. Four children born into a verydysfunctional family. An eccentric mother who probably should not havehad children, married to an alcoholic dreamer - and a talker of hisdreams. BUT neither take good care of the children and the children endup raising themselves. I have always felt that all families aredysfunctional - with varying levels of function. Woody's character hasmany issues from his childhood and only one is made known. He has manydemons to fight and mostly he doesn't fight - he dreams. I am not a fanof Woody Herrelson however this is a good role for him. I am mostimpressed with the acting of the younger cast - to be able to show thereal emotions of those siblings - well done. I think it tells the storywell given the obvious time constraints of a film. The emotions ere andbelievable.

/ 10

"Your values are all confused." Rex (Woody Harrelson)

Fortunate we all are to have families that dysfunction in even smallways because they provide us with stories for a lifetime. Such iswriter/director Destin Daniel Cretton's The Glass Castle, a story basedon Jeannette Wells's (Brie Larson) family, overloaded by a dad,Rex,whose outsized personality, big brain, and capacity for boozedominates the four children through their adult years.

The commendable element infused by writers Cretton and Andrew Lanham isthe realism enfolding odd characters, where bad things happen when daddrinks and kids have to forage for food while dad shrinks their littlelives as he drinks. Having no food for days is not unusual for theWells family, due to dad's drinking up their meager holdings. However,the kids learn how to survive, a commendable achievement in a dependentworld, even in later 20th century.

Jeannette's and Rex's relationship is the ballast of this sometimessurreal film; artist mother Rose Mary (Naomi Watts) is too busypainting to be bothered with their hunger or dad's ranting. Jeannette'searly accident with the stove is a visceral reminder that the bohemianlife can hold some dangerous consequences.

Yet Rose's artistry is probably a source for Jeannette's writingexcellence as dad's verbal fluidity is. Although he's the smartest manhis daughter ever knew, he just doesn't stop talking. The film verysmartly lets us see the dark and light sides of the characters, notunbefitting a West Virginia where talking is like breathing—colorfuland crass but you have to do it to survive.

The central motif of the title is the glass castle Rex hoped to build,an energy efficient beauty with glass all around to let Nature inwithout letting the rough invade. Well, it never gets built, and theworld does intrude. Happy for us because it's a great story, just likeour own.

While the reconciliation at the end seems too neatly tied up, most ofthe film has a grit to remind us that although family is not alwaysfair, it may be the best life has to offer.

5/10 / 10

First off, I have never read the book the film is based on and had noreal understanding of what I was about to watch. But I decided to go tothe theater today and give it shot. I had recently watched "short term12" also directed be Destin Daniel Cretton. Since he was on my radar Inoticed "The glass castle" was just being released so I figured why notsee it but unfortunately it didn't really feel like a valuable use ofmy time.

Like previous reviewers have said this film is not nearly as effectiveas a movie like "captain fantastic" in depicting a unconventionalfamily. All in all it just feels very dry and pointless, in a strangeway. I can't recommend this one. Really wanted to like it.

6/10 / 10

This review of The Glass Castle is spoiler free

*** (3/5)

BEFORE BRIE LARSON gained a well-praised Oscar win for her emotionallypowerful performance in 2015s Room, she appeared in writer-directorDestin Daniel Cretton's second feature 2013's film festival favouriteShort Term 12 where she played as Grace a twentysomething supervisingstaff member of a residential treatment facility. A film which gave heralmost unanimous praise from critics and awards alike. After her Oscarshe was awarded with blockbuster success in this year's Kong: SkullIsland and a chance to play the title role in MCU's Captain Marvel.However before that she returns to Cretton for his latest The GlassCastle.

Based upon Jeanette Walls' best-selling memoirs of the same name wehave Larson starring as the grown-up Jeanette, a twentysomething writerworking for a magazine in New York meanwhile happily living with herFiancé (Max Greenfield), however, this soon transpires that she isusing this look as a shield to hide away from her dysfunctionalchildhood. There are a few well-placed flashbacks showing her childhoodliving with her father, Rex (Woody Harrelson) an illiterate alcoholicwho teaches his children the ways of life instead of taking them toschool, he tells them stories to stir their imagination as hope for adistraction to their poverty. Her mother Rose (Naomi Watts) is aneccentric artist who much like Rex paints what she sees and instead oflooking after her children she tries to paint a masterpiece. Thisleaves Jeanette, the second eldest child to cook and to clean thisleaves her physically scarred. The family are constantly on the movefrom place-to-place desperately trying to avoid the government and taxpayments.

The flashbacks are the films shining light forming most of the story asCretton directs each form of Jeanette from young child (Chandler Head)through her pre-teen years (Ella Anderson) to Larson's adolescent andadult Jeanette swiftly and smoothly moving his camera along eachmemory. Whether it's her father promising to do something for her ortearfully listening to one of his stories he captures each of them inglistening form.

Unfortunately some of the flashbacks fail to grasp the imagination ofJeanette Walls' memoirs as a lot of the fail to securely transfer tothe grown woman Larson plays in the present which makes her charactersadly flawed utterly grading with her performance. Also it's bothseemingly too tidy and too messy, and at the same time neither quitewild nor quite sensible enough making it a sadly more forgettableventure in Larson's powerful filmography. That said The Glass Castle isa subtle and utterly sweet drama which just about often enough breathesinto raucous life.

VERDICT On the one hand The Glass Castle is a tidy poignant drama withrefined performances and on the other it's a flawed tale which oftenfails to grasp Walls' memories on the screen.