Glass Castle shatters the big screen
By Mary Cox
“The Glass Castle” is based on the best selling book by Jeanette Walls of the same name. It was an excellent book. Walls is an American writer and journalist widely known as former gossip columnist for MSNBC.com. She came to St. Louis a few years ago with the St. Louis County Library Foundation to sell her book. She was charming and interesting and very skinny. I was appalled at the way her parents raised her and her siblings. I thought the book was phenomenal so I was really looking forward to the movie.
The cast was exceptional. Academy Award winner Brie Larson plays the adult Jeanette. Academy Award Nominee Woody Harrelson plays Jeanette’s father Rex. Academy Award Nominee Naomi Watts is Jeanette’s mother Rose Mary. Every performance was excellent but Harrelson stole the show.
This is a role of a lifetime for Harrelson. He should be nominated for an Academy Award. He was absolutely amazing. His acting dominated the film. I was sorry that Naomi Watts’s character did not have a larger role. In the book, Walls mother was a more dominant figure. Larson was tremendous as Jeanette Walls and resembled her physically.
“The Glass Castle” is about a young girl who 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.
Destin Daniel Cretton directed. Cretton also wrote the screenplay with Andrew Lanham based on the book “Glass Castle,” an autobiography by Jeanette Walls. Lanham adapted last year’s movie “The Shack” from the best-selling book, “The Shack.” The adaption of the book was good but I thought they didn’t emphasize that the parents chose their life styles. Both parents were college graduates and could have worked and that Rose Mary’s came from a rich family.
As bad as the parents were in this film, they were much worse in the book, but in the film you are actually seeing how awful the family home actually was. It is in your face on the big screen. You wonder as you watch this film: where the hell was DCFS?
This was a beautifully acted and directed film. The cinematography and sound mix was superb.
At the end of this true story, the director showed pictures of the real Walls family as the credits ran. No one in the audience left the theater. We were all mesmerized by the pictures of the real family members.
This film made me wish my parents were still alive so I could thank them for being normal and giving me a happy childhood with electricity and running water. I liked this film as did most of the women in the audience. Several men I talked with thought it was okay but didn’t like it as much as the women in the audience.
“The Glass Castle” opens Friday at AMC Showplace Edwardsville 12 and Granite City Cinema.