A coming of age tale about Jeanette (Brie Larson) and her relationship with her father, Rex (Woody Harrelson). She comes from a dysfunctional family. Her mother is an eccentric artist and her father is an alcoholic, who tries to distract his kids from the fact they live in poverty.
The Glass Castle was good in many respects. One of those being the performances. Brie Larson and Woody Harrelson are incredible. They have good chemistry, and you’re enthralled by the dynamic they have. Throughout the movie you’re learning bits and pieces about their relationship when Jeanette was young. She loved her father so much, and that really came across on screen. You could see that Jeanette and her father had a different bond than the other siblings.
When we flash back to a younger Jeanette there’s Ella Anderson and Chandler Head. They bring the vulnerability of a scared child, but Anderson also shows how strong Jeanette has to be in these situations. There was anger at Rex, but there was love, and sadness she felt about his alcoholism. That leads to her to becoming more to her brother and sisters than just that. She becomes a third parent in a way. Anderson may have stole the movie in the role of young Jeanette. Anderson was captivating.
As for negatives there’s a tone problem here. It’s told as more of an uplifting story, which in some ways it is, but the story at its core is dark. Rex is abusing alcohol, and it takes its toll and his family, but it goes in and out of the light and dark. The best way I can describe is this, it’s a dark film, in a light hearted films body. The score makes you feel it’s light and uplifting but it isn’t.
For the performances alone, The Glass Castle is worth seeing. The tone jumps around a bunch, but Larson, Harrelson and Anderson make up for that.