2017 | 127 minutes | Rated PG-13
On paper, The Glass Castle must have looked like a sure bet. I had high hopes, too: (1) Jeannette Walls' bestselling memoir, from which the film takes its name, is a richly-detailed work about seriously irresponsible parents and their surprisingly functional kids, (2) Destin Daniel Cretton previously directed Brie Larson (who plays the adult Jeannette) in an acclaimed performance in Short Term 12, (3) There isn't much Naomi Watts (as Jeannette's mother, Rose Mary) can't do, and (4) Larson and Woody Harrelson (as Jeannette's father, Rex) already depicted a believably strained father-daughter relationship in Oren Moverman's Rampart. So it comes as a disappointment to find that Cretton's adaptation just doesn't work. The actors give it their all, but they look awkward and uncomfortable, and Cretton doesn't have a feel for the material—not least because he invests Walls' clear-eyed remembrances with soft-focus sentimentality.
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