The Glass Castle

Critics Consensus

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.



Total Count: 159


Audience Score

User Ratings: 8,675
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Movie Info

Chronicling the adventures of an eccentric, resilient and tight-knit family, THE GLASS CASTLE is a remarkable story of unconditional love. Oscar (R) winner Brie Larson brings Jeannette Walls's best-selling memoir to life as a young woman who, influenced by the joyfully wild nature of her deeply dysfunctional father (Woody Harrelson), found the fiery determination to carve out a successful life on her own terms.

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Brie Larson
as Jeanette Walls
Woody Harrelson
as Rex Walls
Naomi Watts
as Rose Mary Walls
Sarah Snook
as Lori Wells

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Critic Reviews for The Glass Castle

All Critics (159) | Top Critics (40)

  • 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.

    Oct 6, 2017 | Rating: 2/5 | 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.

    Oct 5, 2017 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

    Kevin Maher

    Times (UK)
    Top Critic
  • An emotional family saga peppered with relatable themes.

    Oct 5, 2017 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • [Destin Daniel] Cretton wants to make an old-fashioned melodrama but fails to stylize the material in any compelling way

    Aug 24, 2017 | Full Review…
  • Clocks in at two hours and seven minutes but it's so intense that I was hardly aware of the time.

    Aug 14, 2017 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

    Rex Reed

    Top Critic
  • There are heart-tugging moments in The Glass Castle, but Walls's bestselling memoir needed to be roughed up and aired out. For it to match up to the book, the movie needed the glass to be smashed, not every shard treasured.

    Aug 14, 2017 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…

    Thelma Adams

    Top Critic

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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