Telling the story of her childhood struggles, Jeannette Walls’ “The Glass Castle” debuted in theaters in early August. Still as worthwhile of a watch as it was when it debuted., “The Glass Castle” succeeded in its realistic portrayals of a family living in desolate conditions.
“The Glass Castle” was originally written as a memoir of Jeannette’s life and the despicable conditions that some youth live in throughout their childhood. As an adaption into a movie, most of its core story was kept intact, elaborating on the imagery of the events that transgressed.
The story centers around Walls’ father, Rex, who spends the majority of his time either yelling, smoking or drinking. The family moves around from place to place when the living arrangements don’t work out, mostly due to her father’s attitude.
At the beginning of the film, viewers are introduced to the family, who are living in their car, traversing the country. Jeannette ends up getting burnt while making hot dogs, seemingly due to the neglect of her mother, and has to be taken to the hospital for treatment.
Instead of paying the bills, even if the family could pay the hospital bill, Rex has Jeannette’s younger brother, Brian, pretend to fall and injure himself in the hospital to distract the nurses while Rex takes Jeannette from the hospital. Then, the family of five takes off on the road, leaving Jeannette’s stomach burns unhealed.
The film continues to spiral downhill from there in terms of the family and plot development, and the film sorely lacks an advancement of plot. Although the progress of the movie makes sense when viewers reach the film’s climax, the build-up takes entirely too long, especially with the insertion of periodic flashbacks.
These periodic flashbacks are perhaps the most distracting points of the movie. Although strategically placed in time with events in Jeannette’s adult life, many flashbacks consistently cut into the development of the scene, either fading out incorrectly, or fading in at an odd point in conversation or moment in the movie.
Although there were certainly drawbacks to the film, the portrayals of characters were spot-on. At the end of “The Glass Castle,” home videos of the Walls family were played, showcasing the extreme similarities between the actors and the real family. All the actors, Rex (Woody Harrelson) in particular, captured the personality of the character perfectly.
Although “The Glass Castle” has been out for over a month, students should still make the trip to Chakeres 10 to see the movie before it ends its run. “The Glass Castle” may make some students cry, but the real portrayal of the ways that some children and families in the United States live is enough to make students think deeply about those in less fortunate positions.