The APAHM Project Day 26: The Glass Castle
Updated: Jun 3, 2020
Film: The Glass Castle
Director: Destin Daniel Cretton
Where to watch: Vudu, free with ads
Why it made the list:
Destin Daniel Cretton is slated to direct the upcoming Marvel film “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings,” the franchise’s first superhero film to center around an Asian hero. Marvel is known to hire directors with a pretty short filmography (Ryan Coogler, Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck) and create big blockbusters at the same time. “Shang-Chi” could very well have the same effect on Asian audiences as “Black Panther” had on black ones. Curious to see Cretton‘s previous works, I decided to give “The Glass Castle” a watch.
When I put this film on the list, I was reluctant. But because of Cretton and the fact that it was easily accessible to stream, I included it. The trailers for this film made it seem incredibly dull and boring. I also recall my aunt telling me she was reading the book. Her consensus of it, I’m unsure. This film stars Brie Larson, Woody Harrelson, and Naomi Watts and follows Larson’s character Jeannette from childhood to adulthood and what it was like to be raised by poor, dysfunctional, squatting drifters. The film emphasizes Jeannette’s relationship with her drunken father (Harrelson) whose crazy ideas and antics (such as living in a glass castle) both entertain and frustrate Jeanette and her siblings.
There isn’t much of a plot here, since it’s a memoir of the real Jeannette Walls. In the end Jeanette, who comes out as a successful gossip columnist despite her unconventional upbringing, comes to accept who she is and where she came from and reconciles with her father.
The film had some really great acting in it. I’m usually not a huge fan of Larson, sometimes I find her to be a little stiff, but she had a lot more emotions in this film. Harrelson gave an equally great performance. The kids were all casted really well to their adult counterparts and you even see some familiar faces such as Sadie Sink of ”Stranger Things” and Iain Armitage from “Young Sheldon.” The movie was a bit on the longer side, despite it really only being 2 hours and 10 minutes. It just felt a little slow and nothing was really gripping me enough to resist from hitting pause every once in a while. Even towards the end, when Jeannette is saying good-bye to her father, I found myself absentmindedly scrolling on my phone.
Does it deserve to stay on this list?
All in all, “The Glass Castle” exceeded my expectations. While a depressing situation as a story, the film was just interesting enough to keep me invested. The acting was good and I think the film overall was well-executed. I really liked the costumes and production design on this one and Cretton had some really nice shots. He also co-wrote the script, and although I am unfamiliar with the source material, it had some really great quotes and they did a good job at balancing the past with the present. I think this was a decently good film and I think that ”Shang-Chi” will be in good hands with Cretton at the helm.