Strength In Dysfunction: Our Review of ‘The Glass Castle’ on Blu-Ray

Posted in Blu-Ray/DVD, Movies by - November 06, 2017
Strength In Dysfunction: Our Review of ‘The Glass Castle’ on Blu-Ray

The limits that we’ll go to for family…

Following up on their critical darling; Short Term 12, the team of Brie Larson and writer/director Daniel Destin Cretton return with an uneven but ultimately honest portrayal of a dysfunctional family and the lengths that they all go to make family life something that genuinely works for everyone involved in one.

In a family of nomadic nonconformists, Jeanette (Brie Larson) is a young woman coming of age while be surrounded by an eccentric artist for a mother (Naomi Watts) and a destructive yet charismatic alcoholic dreamer (Woody Harrelson).  Now a self sufficient success, Jeanette has to come to terms with not only the good but the bad parts of her childhood as she is confronted with a major turning point in her ability to keep her family together the best way that she possibly can.

Unlike last year’s Captain Fantastic, The Glass Castle at least has the strength of conviction to give us something steeped in a sense of complicated reality rather than trying to force a happy ending on this kind of emotional dysfunction.

Cretton who also co-wrote the script is no stranger to emotional dysfunction in his stories and he successfully manages the ups and downs of this story with a resounding confidence that he mostly has a handle on throughout the film.  Yeah it’s a little overlong, but he is a top notch storyteller at managing tone and keeping an audience engaged throughout as the film thankful only teases us with any fanciful moments and keeps the narrative in a realistic base.  Sure life can be hard, but it never betrays its message in hopes of a happy ending in the third act, it’s complicated and much like family life itself, it’s supposed to be.  It’s a seemingly solid adaptation from the book by Jeanette Walls as Cretton and co-writer Andrew Lanham hit enough of the bullet points in this story to not make it feel disjointed in anyway even though character development outside of the two leading characters was fairly thin causing the film to feel a little too singular and occasionally lackluster in moments.

Brie Larson was her usual stalwart self in this role but you could easily tell that she was having to milk the page for every ounce that she could find in the material and it’s not always the best thing when you can see your lead actress working on the screen and not finding away to melt into the role, but that’s more on Cretton and the material then it is on Larson herself.  Harrelson is quite good as her emotionally tortured father who undoubtedly loves all of his children, but just has a funny way of showing it sometimes.  They have a great dynamic together and it really is what carries the film from beginning to end and I can only hope that they work together again one day.  Sadly the rest of the ensemble including Naomi Watts, Sarah Snook & Max Greenfield just didn’t have a whole hell of a lot to do together and the film could have packed a little more punch had we got a little more dynamic about Jeanette and her relationship with her siblings.  Sure, it’s the father/daughter interplay that sells the movie, but a little bit more meaty material with the rest of the family could have made this movie special.

Picture and sound quality on the Blu-Ray  are top notch and the special features include an intimate look behind the scenes on the making of the film, Deleted Scenes, a conversation with author Jeannette Walls and some looks at the music of the film.

When all is said and done, The Glass Castle is a compelling piece of cinema that uniquely speaks to the complex dynamics involved in any kind of family, but you’ll be left wanting to know a little more about these people in order to be able to truly find it genuine.

Glass Castle, The [Blu-ray + Digital Copy] (Bilingual)

This post was written by
David Voigt, has been a lover of cinema all his life and an actual underpaid critic for a solid 5 years covering everything that the city of Toronto has to offer. He was a content manager in video distribution industry before that and his love of all things cinema goes back to his first moments in awe looking up at the big screen. His 12 years of experience on the home entertainment side of the business have provided him with a unique view on what is worth spending your hard earned entertainment dollars on. Combine that with his unquestioned love of film, David should be your only stop to find out about the best in film, not only in Toronto, but worldwide.