The Glass Castle: a touching, timeless tale

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The Glass Castle is one of the most touching movies I’ve seen all year.

One Christmas, Rex Walls (Woody Harrelson) took each of his four children into the snow outside their West Virginia cabin and told them to pick a star in the night sky: One of the funny stories the kids share as adults … seeing the humor in their father logic.

Director Destin Daniel Cretton’s screen adaptation of Jeannette Walls’ bestselling memoir The Glass Castle is about the penniless and itinerant childhood she experienced at the hands of her mother and alcoholic father.

Rex, a would-be inventor, promises Jeannette he will build the family a glass castle that will be heated by sunshine. However, he is spinning this tale as the family is living in shacks without electricity or plumbing. Harrelson’s performance carries the film. The story of the adult Jeannette, played well by Brie Larson, feels real and authentic; adult Jeanette feels distant and detached; this is the appropriate response to the life she had as a child.

Cretton then flips between the two time periods continually, which I actually loved. Why? Because, he spent enough time in each period for us to understand the context of which Jeanette was experiencing.

Well done.

Tidbits: You will either love this move or hate it. I happened to love it as it portrayed family dysfunction at its best. Alcoholic idealistic father; flaky mother who puts her own needs and desires ahead of her childrens’. Kids figuring out how to survive and still hoping beyond all hope in a father who spins tales to engage his kids.

Go see this one and let me know what you think!

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Dawn McReynolds

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