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The Glass Castle (2017) Reviewed by Jay

United States, 11 August 2017


Jay´s Review

The alcoholic father in this messed-up family believes in Hope. In his view, his main responsibility is to offer his children hope, despite the dysfunction that surrounds them. I developed an overwhelming dislike for that man and viewed his children's devotion as a variation of the Stockholm Syndrome. Knowing that it is based on real life made it tougher to endure.


Working from a thought-provoking autobiography by Jeannette Wall, writer Andrew Lanham and writer/director Destin Daniel Cretton have crafted a screenplay which uses a talented cast to perfection. The amazing casting (we see the real people during the final credits and you will be astonished) plus the superlative costume design, acting and direction are each worthy of note. Personally, I am sick and tired of dysfunction, alcoholism and misery, but I guess you don't have to LIKE a movie to be impressed.


Part of Cretton's cast:


  • * Brie Larson (Oscar for "Room") Jeannette is the daughter who devises a way for her and her three siblings to survive. The four of them have come to realize that neither parent will help. She is her daddy's girl but even that doesn't help most of the time. She tells her fiancé "When it comes to my family, let ME do the lying!"
  • * Woody Harrelson ("War for the Planet of the Apes") Rex Wall offers hope. Always hope. Only hope. We realize that his talk is cheap long before his children do. Their father is volatile, smart, selfish and unpredictable. He tells his children "You learn through living" and sees to it that they experience a wide variety of "lessons."
  • * Naomi Watts ("Twin Peaks") Rose Mary is talented, but not very maternal. To her, a piece of art is worth far more than a square meal. Ms. Watts is outstanding as she disappears into the flaky persona of a would-be artist, unwilling to leave her brutal husband or protect her children.
  • * An assortment of young actors portray our heroine and her siblings at different stages of their childhood, but the outstanding Elia Anderson ("The Boss") does most of the heavy lifting. She plays Jeannette Wall as a 10 year old.
  • * Robin Bartlett ("Vice Principals") is Erma. Once we know Rex's mother, we understand much more about his personality flaws.
This is a PG-13 movie, so expect domestic violence, a gaping wound, implied child molestation, and dark humor.  On the other hand, Ms. Wall insists that we appreciate the resiliency of the human spirit. I did NOT enjoy one bit of this movie, but it has stuck with me, which says it must have some intrinsic value. YOYO (You're On Your Own).


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