The Glass Castle spoke to me in more ways than I can explain in this post. In fact, anyone who’s ever had to parent a parent will feel the depths of love in this movie, as well as the heartache. I recently sat down with Jeannette Walls, author of The Glass Castle novel, to talk about the story she wrote about her family, and her life.
The Glass Castle tells the true life story of Jeannette’s family growing up in a nomadic, often unstable home. Her memoir takes us on the journey of four siblings who must learn to take care of themselves as their responsibility-averse, free-spirit parents both inspire and inhibit them. When sober, the children’s brilliant and charismatic father captured their imagination, teaching them physics, geology, and how to embrace life fearlessly. But when he drank, he was dishonest and destructive. Meanwhile, their mother abhorred the idea of domesticity and didn’t want to take on the work of raising a family.
Jeannette is played by Academy Award winner Brie Larson . She says it was captivating watching Brie, who studied her, act out her life before her very eyes. And Woody Harrelson is brilliant as her father, Rex. He embodies this character so completely. I don’t think anyone doubts he is a great actor (see: Natural Born Killers) but he brought somethings so nuanced to his role that I found myself angry, sympathetic and adoring him all at once. Naomi Watts plays Rose Mary, her mother. Her mother was a strange combination of free flowing 60’s gal, and independent woman. You love her in this, and you also probably have a family member just like her.
For fans of the book, the movie version will add more life and color to this world. Of course most people always agree, nothing is ever as good as the book. But in this case, I’d say The Glass Castle comes pretty damn close.
Watch my interview with Jeannette Walls to hear more of her thoughts on casting and what she hopes people take away from this film. The Glass Castle also stars Max Greenfield and Ella Anderson. It opens nationwide Aug. 11th.