THE GLASS CASTLE Review – A Tough Challenge
THE ONLY LIVING BOY IN NEW YORK Review — A Mushy Bite of the Big Apple
The Glass Castle Review — An almost impossible adaptation
If you’ve read the bestseller by Jeannette Walls (and almost every woman I know has) you’re probably wondering how they could make such dark and tragic material into a film. After all, Walls and her brother and sisters had such outrageously painful childhoods at the hands of their wildly dysfunctional parents that it could be extremely challenging to tell the story on the big screen.
At least director Destin Daniel Cretton (“Short Term 12”) didn’t make it too dark. In fact, with treacly music, rich lighting and a limp script, he pretty much sugar coated the story and hammered the redemption/forgiveness theme home so hard it loses almost all the impact of the book.
I will say that Woody Harrelson has never been better as the brilliant, self-absorbed, alcoholic father who forgets to feed his children and cavalierly puts them in mortal danger more often than not. Naomi Watts is a little too beautiful and angelic as the clueless mother, and Brie Larson, who won an Oscar for “Room” and worked with Cretton on “Short Term 12,” could have been excellent, if she’d been given a role that was better defined. As is, she can do little more than glower.
At least you’re not depressed when you leave the theater, as you probably were when you finished the book.
2 Hours 7 Minutes
The Only Living Boy in New York Review — Woody Allen light
I’m thinking 2017 will be the year of movies with Simon and Garfunkel song titles. First we had “Baby Driver,” now it’s “The Only Living Boy in New York.” You have to admit that the songs are excellent source material.
At first the film feels Woody Allen smug — just another literary love letter to New York, and you run the risk of being considered unsophisticated if you criticize it. But while it doesn’t quite hold together and the cast is hit or miss, the end is tied up with a nice, twisty ribbon that keeps the film from being a total misfire.
Callum Turner, as the nebbish young adult who becomes involved with his father’s mistress, fails to compell, but Pierce Brosnan as his father, and Jeff Bridges as his odd neighbor, effortlessly carry their wait. Kate Beckinsale and Cynthia Nixon don’t really get the chance to do much as the mistress and the mother, respectively.
It would seem that director Marc Webb is taking a breather from his “The Amazing Spiderman” films and is going back to his mushy “500 Days of Summer” roots. A little of his “Crazy Ex-Girlfrined” spark would have been welcome.
1 Hour 18 Minutes
THE GLASS CASTLE Review – THE ONLY LIVING BOY IN NEW YORK Review