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The Glass Castle has an affecting real-life story and a hard-working cast in its corner, but they aren't enough to outweigh a fundamentally misguided approach to the material. Read critic reviews

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Movie Info

Based on a memoir, four siblings 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.

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Critic Reviews for The Glass Castle

All Critics (164) | Top Critics (56) | Fresh (85) | Rotten (79)

  • It's misery porn at its most prettily dishonest, but against all odds, Harrelson, Brie Larson and a gaggle of talented child stars render it soapishly watchable.

    October 13, 2017 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • Larson is the weak link here as the adult Jeannette, a born-again neoliberal in an 80s power suit, failing to integrate her rich, boring boyfriend into her unconventional family.

    October 8, 2017 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…
  • Woody Harrelson gives a performance of borderline unwatchable hamminess in this really tiresome film, which sentimentally neutralises parental abuse into a supposedly fascinating angel/devil split.

    October 6, 2017 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…
  • The film's sentimental instincts jar so awkwardly with its pain that the push for some final uplift feels unmistakably forced.

    October 5, 2017 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • A flinty central turn from Brie Larson and a gregarious yet nonetheless repellent Woody Harrelson are the cornerstones of a family drama about alcoholism and parental abuse that refuses to rest on easy platitudes and psychological certainties.

    October 5, 2017 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • It's TV-movie-ish in parts, but the actors have a whale of a time.

    October 5, 2017 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • It's misery porn at its most prettily dishonest, but against all odds, Harrelson, Brie Larson and a gaggle of talented child stars render it soapishly watchable.

    October 13, 2017 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • Larson is the weak link here as the adult Jeannette, a born-again neoliberal in an 80s power suit, failing to integrate her rich, boring boyfriend into her unconventional family.

    October 8, 2017 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…
  • Woody Harrelson gives a performance of borderline unwatchable hamminess in this really tiresome film, which sentimentally neutralises parental abuse into a supposedly fascinating angel/devil split.

    October 6, 2017 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…
  • The film's sentimental instincts jar so awkwardly with its pain that the push for some final uplift feels unmistakably forced.

    October 5, 2017 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • As a character study, The Glass Castle is a fascinating glimpse at the intersection of love, abuse, compassion, neglect, broken promises, and familial duties.

    September 25, 2020 | Rating: .5/5 | Full Review…
  • It's a noble effort at best, and a grueling example of a true story that rarely feels authentic the rest of the time.

    May 12, 2020 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Glass Castle

  • Aug 19, 2018
    The story of a very unusual family plays on two time frames, with the emphasis on the past for quite a while. Harrelson is fantastic, of course, but so are the child actors. There are slow moments, but overall the story remains fascinating, never entirely judging the unconventional parents, always on the fence between failure and deep love. The fact that the pendulum ultimately falls very clearly on one of the two sides makes for a pretty touching ending, too.
    Jens S Super Reviewer
  • Jul 21, 2018
    Based on a best-selling memoir, The Glass Castle is a compelling character drama about family. As newspaper columnist Jeannette Walls prepares to start a new life with her fiancé she struggles to break free from her homeless parents whose bohemian lifestyle constantly kept them on the move and in poverty throughout her childhood. Starring Brie Larson, Woody Harrelson, and Naomi Watts, the film has a strong cast that gives some really good performances (especial Harrelson). And the script is incredibly well-written; telling parallel stories in the past and present that are both engaging and enhance each other, creating suspense and intrigue. However, the epilogue-ish ending seems forces and kind of counters a lot of the dramatic conflict and character growth. Yet despite its few weaknesses, The Glass Castle is a remarkably touching film.
    Dann M Super Reviewer
  • Dec 26, 2017
    Interesting true story, but honestly wore it's welcome out halfway through. I cared enough to finish it, but it was 2 hours that felt like 3.
    Nicki M Super Reviewer
  • Aug 09, 2017
    The Glass Castle had its few moments of shines and tears to wipe away, but under the hood is where the film relies a huge problem on. Can be forgettable during time beings if not claimed to love it nor hate it. but somewhere in the middle that gives that mixed opinion feeling. If you want to find a better way to watch this film, wait for it on rental.
    EpicLadySponge t Super Reviewer

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