THE GLASS CASTLE is the second feature film from writer-director Destin Daniel Cretton who was born and raised on Maui. It was adapted from a best selling memoir by Jeanette Walls. This powerful drama shows how she and her three siblings had to practically raise themselves in the 1960’s and 70’s because their poverty stricken parents—smart and talented though they may have been—were not capable of really taking care of them. The crux of the film is the love-hate relationship that Jeanette had with her father who was a failed dreamer and an alcoholic.
Harrelson as Rex: Rich city folks live in fancy apartments. But their air is so polluted they can’t even see the stars.
Woody Harrelson gives an Oscar worthy performance as Rex, the sometimes charismatic, often abusive father of four.
Naomi Watts plays their mother, Rose Mary, a painter who goes along with Rex’s crazy ideas especially his promise to build a dream home even though their reality is a frequent need make sudden moves to escape bill collectors, because Rex just can’t hold a job.
Rex: 50 bucks a week for two years and we’ll own it outright.
One of the kids: Hard to believe that one day this’ll all be ours.
Rex: Hey she may not look like much, but wait till you see what I have in mind.
A daughter: This place doesn’t have any running water or electricity.
Rex: Ignore her; she was born without vision.
Ella Anderson plays the young Jeanette who loves her dad and can’t understand how he can go off on a drinking binge and leave the family without anything to eat for three days.
Flash forward to the late 80’s when Brie Larson as Jeanette has become a journalist in Manhattan and her parents are squatting in an abandoned building on the lower east side.
Rose Mary: So your dad says you passed by in a cab the other night, acted like we weren’t even there. You shouldn’t be ashamed of us just because we chose a different lifestyle than you.
Jeanette: Being homeless in New York City does not count as a lifestyle choice.
The love these woeful parents feel for their kids is real but far from enough to compensate for their failings. Still, as we all must in order to find peace, Jeanette has to find a way to accept her parents for who they are.
Terry Hunter, Hawaii News Now. firstname.lastname@example.org