Title – The Glass Castle (2017)
Director – Destin Daniel Cretton (Short Term 12)
Cast – Woody Harrelson, Brie Larson, Naomi Watts, Ella Anderson, Chandler Head, Sarah Snook, Max Greenfield
Plot – The true story of writer Jeannette Walls (Larson) and her untypical upbringing in her family lead by her erratic and alcoholic father Rex (Harrelson).
“We ain’t like other people. We got a fire burning in our bellies”
Review by Eddie on 18/12/2017
A true case of just ignore the critics, The Glass Castle presents one of the year’s most undeservedly mistreated major releases and for anyone that would cast their eye over many of the negative critical responses to director Destin Daniel Cretton’s great follow-up to his indie darling Short Term 12 and choose to not see this touching based on a true story, they’d be missing out on one of the year’s underseen gems.
Based on Jeannette Walls autobiographical book of the same name, The Glass Castle tells the poignant story of Walls life growing up with her siblings under the care of their parental duo in the form of Naomi Watt’s artistic and free spirited Rose Mary and most tellingly Woody Harrelson’s intellectually attuned, yet troubled and alcoholic father Rex.
Telling the story in two era’s with both Brie Larson’s older and career minded Jeannette struggling to come to grips with her upbringing and her loving yet divisive relationship with her father and Walls as a young girl, being constantly uprooted by her parents lifestyle and frequently letdown by a father that promises much, yet fails to deliver.
Over the course of The Glass Castle’s two hour runtime we feel a part of the Wall family life, the good, the bad and all that falls in-between and showcasing the eye he has for humanity and relatable human flaws and graces, Cretton is perfectly in tune with his performers and characters as we begin to feel their disappointments, their frustrations and most importantly their bonds.
At the heart of Cretton’s film also is some fantastic turns from his varied Wall performers and from the young Chandler Hand through to Larson’s incarnation, all actors work well to bring Jeannette to life while Rex Walls gives Woody Harrelson one of his meatiest feature film roles in a number of years.
After career revivals in Zombieland and HBO’s megahit first season of True Detective, Harrelson once more showcases his acting chops in the difficult role of Rex.
Flirting the line between despicable drunk to kind-hearted protector, Harrelson delivers an awards worthy turn here and while Cretton’s film may not have been taken up by critics or audiences in the way in which The Glass Castle deserved, there’s little denying Harrelson’s impressive performance is one of the years very best.
Final Say –
Ignore the overriding critical consensus and you’ll find a film full of raw emotion, power and a beautifully constructed human heart. With The Glass Castle Cretton has crafted an emotionally engaging and thought-provoking family drama and one of the year’s best dramatic efforts, featuring one of Woody Harrelson’s most memorable film roles.
4 ½ arm wrestling matches out of 5