The Glass Castle film review: Brie Larson's stinker of a year continues with this incoherent flop

James Luxford
The Glass Castle

Brie Larson’s lackluster 2017 continues here as she plays writer Jeannette Walls, a young woman in the 80s determined to succeed despite being haunted by her difficult upbringing.

Constant timeline jumping makes this a bumpy ride, flitting between an adult Walls and her 70s counterpart. Scenes are clunkily jammed together, often feeling inconsistent and episodic. It’s sometimes compelling, but that’s really the least you should expect with a cast this good.

Woody Harrelson flits easily between charming and repugnant as Walls’ alcoholic father, while Naomi Watts makes the perfect enabler as her mother. Larson, though, feels lost in the shuffle, an observer to her own past. Despite the ensemble’s best efforts, The Glass Castle never ties its strands together. Cramming a neat resolution into the finale is particularly unsatisfying, but par for the course for a film that never seems to know what it’s trying to say.

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