- 17 Oct 17
Woody Harrelson oozes charisma as a dysfunctional dad in this too-tidy adaptation of Jeannette Walls' 2005 memoir.
The second film this issue that's based on a memoir, The Glass Castle reunites Short Term 12 director Destin Daniel Cretton with his leading lady, Brie Larson, in a long-awaited adaptation of Jeanette Walls' bestselling memoir. Her account of growing up with dysfunctional nomadic parents was a compelling tale, capturing how Walls' childlike adoration of her wild father slowly gave way to a horrible realisation: failing to feed or care for your children isn't free-spirited, but abusive.
Cretton explores this idea by juxtaposing timelines; that of adult Jeanette (Larson), now a writer married to a wealthy banker (New Girl's Max Greenfield), and young Jeanette (Chandler Head, then Ella Anderson), who is constantly uprooted and destabilised by the whims of her alcoholic father, Rex (Woody Harrelson), and flighty mother Rose Mary (Naomi Watts).
Harrelson brings a manic, mercurial energy to charismatic narcissist Rex, who alternates between doting on his children, and trying to toughen them up by throwing them into pools before they're able to swim. He also leaves Jeanette alone with a much older, sexually aggressive man because, "I knew you could handle yourself."