THE GLASS CASTLE (2017) REVIEW
The Glass Castle is a coming of age story based on Jeannette Walls, a New York best-selling author, a memoir. The film depicting Wall’s real-life story was directed by Destin Daniel Cretton, famous for Short Term 12(2013).It features award-winning
B Snook.re Larson, Woody Harelson, Max Greenfield and Sarah
The story is presented using flashbacks to the opening scenes have Larson playing an adult Jeannette in 1989 New York City. This was 25 years earlier as revealed by a young Jeannette ( played by Schadler Head and Ella Anderson). She and her siblings Lori (Sarah Cook), Brian (Josh Caras) and Maureen (Brigette Lundy-Paine) are moved from town to town by their parents, who are on the run from the debt collector’s wrath.
Her father, Rex Walls (Woody Harelson) is an alcoholic with abusive and violent tendencies and can’t keep his job. Rose Mary walls (Naomi Watts), her mother is an artist who is so obsessed with a painting that she neglects her children. They finally settle down in Rex Hometown of Welch, rural West Virginia.
At first, Rex tries to be a good dad and even gives up drinking but his efforts wane and his back to his old drinking antics. The four siblings bond to help each other escape from home when the opportunity availed itself. Jeanette who her father refuses to let go eventually makes it to New York where she gets a job as a column writer. David (Max Greenfield), a financial analyst gets engaged to her only for Max and Rose Mary, now with no home and money, to come knocking.
Comparing to Tretton’s earlier works The Glass castle is lacking the emotional of Wall’s memoir. Rex is not unleashed as a vicious and temperamental father he was. Instead, the moments of gentleness and charisma when he was sober are emphasized. It is also conflicting with the emotions Jeanette felt towards her father.
The film also feels compressed due to the vastness of individual moments Jeannette may have experienced in real life. Cretton failed to pick out the most vivid descriptive parts which would have brought more life into the story.
The old-fashioned style of using flashbacks is flawed. In this film, it was inappropriate thus depriving the story a proper flow. Unverified reports claim that the move was to get Brie Larson, an Oscar winner earlier on the screen. Though she appeared in about a third of the movie, she wouldn’t her come up until halfway if the film followed the chronological order of events.