#REVIEW: “THE GLASS CASTLE”
Review by Amanda Gilmore for Mr. Will Wong
The Glass Castle honours Jennette Walls’ Memoir.
The Glass Castle is the adaptation of Walls’ (Brie Larson) Memoir of the same name. One night Walls sees her parents scrounging for food on the street and it brings memories from her past to light. Memories of her, her three siblings and her parents living an eccentric and resilient life when it was at its best. But also memories of alcoholism, lies and destruction when it was at its worst. Those memories chronicle Walls’ life from her unconventional poverty-stricken upbringing and the bond she shared with her dysfunctional father (Woody Harrelson), to the rich New York City Gossip Writer who keeps a distance from her family.
The Film does its best to honour Walls’ poignant and euphoric Memoir and for the most part it succeeds. The intense and troublesome moments from Walls’ childhood are included on screen and the dark subject matter is handled elegantly without making the content grotesque. The inclusion of the main memories from Walls’ childhood and teenage years will make readers of the source material proud. But for newcomers to Walls’ life including many melancholy scenes back-to-back makes The Glass Castle seem longer than it is.
One thing that all audiences will agree on is the perfect casting of the Walls’ family. The standout is Woody Harrelson as eccentric father Rex Walls. Harrelson honours Rex by making him who he was, unapologetic and fearless. The changes in emotion Harrelson masters within one scene is a marvel to watch. In one stream of dialogue Harrelson makes a father helping his daughter swim both endearing and horrific. Harrelson courageously shows the atrociousness of Rex during his years as an alcoholic and the wonderful, caring and smart father he always was. Its because of Harrelson that audiences will feel every range of emotion throughout The Glass Castle. Naomi Watts also is great as Jeannette’s mom Rose Mary. Watts makes Rose Mary a fragile and strong unconventional mother who would never leave her husband, even at his worst. And Brie Larson is captivating as Walls. Larson uses her posture and eyes to show what she is hiding from her past and what she finally accepts as her past. Her scenes with Harrelson are wondrous to watch. The chemistry between them is important and they become father and daughter effortlessly on screen.
Overall, The Glass Castle honours Walls’ memoir and the Walls family. The performances from the main cast are enchanting with a whirlwind performance from Harrelson at the forefront. The Glass Castle also has an endearing message of accepting your past and your family, only then will you become who you are. Put even simpler, this Film is about the bond between a father and daughter.
eOne Films release THE GLASS CASTLE Friday, August 11, 2017.