Parents' Guide to

The Glass Castle

By Jeffrey Anderson, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Strong acting, intense themes in emotional book-based drama.

Movie PG-13 2017 127 minutes
The Glass Castle Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 14+

Based on 5 parent reviews

age 14+

A few touchy scenes not mentioned in review

Not mentioned in the description of the film is a scene where the boy was in the beginning stages of being molested by his grandmother and an ensuing fight (I fast forwarded once I saw where it was going so the kids couldn't see it). If I had known this scene was in the movie, we would not have watched it at all.
4 people found this helpful.
age 14+
This movie showed ups and downs of odd and abusive, neglectful parents. Sadly it ends with everyone toasting their drunk of a dad. Based on a true story, God help those kids recover from so much trauma!

This title has:

Too much drinking/drugs/smoking

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (5):
Kids say (4):

Based on Walls' best-selling memoir, this drama could have been edgier, but it follows a certain genre type, comfortably presenting itself as a four-hankie weepie graced with fine performances. You might think that writer/director Destin Daniel Cretton -- whose previous film was the excellent, emotionally complex and nuanced Short Term 12 -- would give the same treatment to The Glass Castle. But, like any classic tearjerker melodrama, it's painted with broader, more basic strokes.

Each scene is designed more to coax a response from the audience than to find a deeper, more vivid truth about the characters. Nevertheless, the great cast is treated well, and the actors get many big moments to shine. Harrelson treads a fine line between Rex's extremes of abuse and wonder, and Watts' Rose Mary emerges with her own personality and desires; she's far more than just a "wife." Larson (who also starred in Short Term 12) ties it all together, shuffling through stages of betrayal, rage, hope, and love. The exceptional Sarah Snook has less to do here, but she manages a few small, powerful moments. These performances are the reason to watch.

Movie Details

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