‘The Glass Castle’ — starring Brie Larson, Woody Harrelson and Naomi Watts
7.5 out of 10
By Jack Davis ’19
The Glass Castle, a memoir by Jeannette Walls, was undoubtedly my favorite book that I’ve been assigned to read in school—and it may even be my favorite book, regardless.
So naturally, when I heard that Walls’s life story was being adapted to the big screen, I was ecstatic.
That being said, I couldn’t shake the underwhelming feeling that the film left me—and ultimately, I don’t think it did justice to Jeannette Wall’s, the protagonist’s, past.
Woody Harrelson was phenomenal as Rex Walls. I knew from the minute he was cast that Rex couldn’t have been portrayed by a more qualified actor. After seeing his work in both, “The Hunger Games” as Haymitch Abernathy and now “The Glass Castle,” I can say wholeheartedly that he usually puts forth a superb acting job.
But going back to the film as a whole—I was a little upset when critics gave “The Glass Castle” a 7.2 (IMDb) and a 49% (RottenTomatoes), respectively. But after seeing it for myself, I’m a little closer to the median than my once-bullish prediction.
I had a few small gripes with the film—one being the decision to leave Jeannette’s late-childhood out of the plot entirely.
I felt like the plot dropped off a cliff when it jumped from Jeannette’s early childhood in the Southwest to her late adolescence in Welch, WV.
The Wallses seemingly went from a normal, albeit quirky, family—to the one that eventually made Jeannette move away to pursue her dreams in New York. I feel that transition could have been smoother if her childhood—in Phoenix, AZ— expanded on and detailed.
Another problem with the film was the decision to cast the same actresses and actor for Jeannette’s high school years. It’s an understandable decision, but seeing a woman in her late-20s portray a junior in highschool was a little awkward, nonetheless.
I also felt that the story neglected Rex’s relationship with his other three children, and in particular Maureen. Maureen’s physical assault of her mother was ignored in the film, and I thought it was a critical detail that encapsulated her faulty upbringing.
Lastly, I thought the film made Rex out to be a do-good hippie, and didn’t provide a true representation of what he was as a man. Ultimately, in the book, he was a drunk, selfish failure who forced his daughter—and the only person who still had any faith in him—out of his life.