I am very torn with THE GLASS CASTLE. Mind you, I have not read the true life novel so I have nothing to compare it to. On the one hand, the acting is incredible, with Brie Larson showing us again why she won that Oscar for room, and we are still scratching our heads why Woody Harrelson has never won an Oscar. On the other hand, going into this with just one theatrical trailer in my head, I felt cheated. I thought that it’s about a woman dealing with her high on life/weird aspects on living parents where she eventually has to accept them for their unconventional ways, but instead I’m treated to two wildly irresponsible parents, one who can’t see the bigger picture and is lazy, and the other drunk and can’t provide for his children. The acting is so good that it made me completely dislike the parents to the point where I don’t think I could’ve forgiven them if they were mine, where the inevitable ending didn’t feel earned at all.
But then on a third invisible hand, I felt that if I read the book, I might like it more, where it might reveal more redeemable acts from the parents and dive deeper into the whole family’s insane journey. Because of this drunk and irresponsible parents aspect, the movie felt generic and I got a little bored. No offense to the real Jeannette Walls, who obviously had to go through this in real life. Like I said, I bet the book is better, and we all know that the book sometimes translates horribly into a motion picture. So thinking that the book is better, this critic right here went to the Internet to read big summaries so I would have something to compare this movie too. After reading these summaries, I know that the book is better, because the movie leaves a lot out, that if put in, could’ve been a more tight and well rounded flick.
I also went in blind with this regarding the reviews. So when I got home from seeing it, I went on Rotten Tomatoes and wasn’t surprised to find it at a low 47% and it says that most critics feel that there was a “fundamentally misguided approach to the material.” Those are the perfect words with how I feel about the movie. This film is great with the acting, but ultimately I can’t recommend it because it didn’t take the right approach with the material provided in the book. Everything felt cliched, generic, with an unearned ending trying to tug at your heart strings empty handed.
Which is a shame, because if they would’ve adapted the book correctly, from what I read, this could’ve completely went and swept up a couple of awards during Oscar season. Jennifer Lawrence was attached to play Jeannette at first, but maybe she realized what was really going on and that is why she dropped out. The direction is fine, some beautiful landscape shots and cinematography, but ultimately it is the script that completely falters the entire product. If you are a huge Brie Larson and/or Woody Harrelson fan, I would recommend just to check this out for the acting. Naomi Watts also does a fine job as well, even though I didn’t like her character. The only acting flub is Max Greenfield, who cannot get out of acting like Schmidt on New Girl to save his life. All I saw was Schmidt instead of a well rounded character.
This is definitely not a Glass Castle, it is more like a glass condo, with a shitload of cracks in it.