It is the responsibility of the director of a movie to set the tone early in order to establish the theme and message of the film. Most good directors can hook an audience with opening scenes and then successfully build solid character development and then bring it home in the third act.
We all know how it works and so does director/co-writer Destin Daniel Cretton which meant that after 45 minutes of watching this film, I was convinced that the melody and texture of “The Glass Castle” was set in stone and there was no hope that I could possibly like this movie.
The movie is based on the memoir by Jeannette Walls, born in 1960, who shares the story of her own dysfunctional family who travelled by car with all of the worldly possessions from one shack to the next dump without running water and electricity. The father played by Woody Harrelson is in full denial of his drinking problem and Mamma Walls, portrayed by Naomi Watts is a flighty artist who is the classic enabler while she ignores the needs of her small children.
And the definition of fun by slapping and belittling young children in the Walls Family was pure, unadulterated child abuse and Director Destin Daniel, gotta admit that’s a pretty cool name, passed it off as charming and a healthy part of life experiences. I have not read Walls book and I’m sure there is some sort of happy ending as she grows up to become a successful journalist, but this movie was offensive in its subtle depiction of physical and mental abuse of the Walls children.
After 45 minutes of almost zero humor and endearment, I decided that I would not participate in this sorry excuse of a movie and I bounced. I know that life is difficult but you don’t have to use children to make that point when in fact the adults were mean and unkind hidden in the good looks and charisma of Harrelson and Watts.
I hate this movie and will not read the book. But here’s some good news; there’s always next week’s movie – “Lucky Logan” starring Channing Tatum and Adam Driver and “The Hitman’s Bodyguard” with Samuel L. Jackson and Ryan Reynolds. Rock ‘n Roll.
Grade 65W. Larry H. www.larryhmoviereviews.com