This week in my real job (makeup artist) I have been doing press for a fantastic new movie called The Glass Castle.
The film is based on the best selling autobiography of Jeanette Walls. Her story is one of resilience and redemption, of hope and struggle, and of attaining success either because of, or despite, her unusual upbringing. It is a story about the power of love and the strength of the human spirit.
Jeanette and her three siblings were raised by their nomadic parents, at times living in their car, abandoned houses, under the stars as they moved around the southwest and then back to the mining town in West Virginia where her father grew up. Her mother was a free spirit who devoted herself with a mania to her painting, a métier where passion and talent did not collide.
Her charismatic father was equal parts brilliant and destructive, teaching his children physics, geology, and his own form of social sciences, as well as how to live life fearlessly. Some of his parenting was genius, but when he would drink he would spiral down to destruction.
The children learned to fend for themselves and be the ultimate source of strength for one another until they were finally able to leave home.
The story starts when Jeanette is a child and takes you on a turbulent ride through her life until present day.The book is much loved, and has sold more than 6 million copies.
The film is phenomenal. I went to a screening of it a few weeks ago and loved it. Woody Harrelson’s performance as Rex, the father, is Oscar worthy, and I hope he gets nominated for it. Naomi Watts plays Rose Mary, the mother, and three actresses play the role of Jeanette, culminating in Brie Larson as adult Jeanette. The performances in this film are exquisite.
There is a scene early on in the movie where the family is sleeping under the stars in the desert and a very young Jeanette wakes and thinks she sees a demon. Her father talks her through it then hands her a knife in a leather sheath and tells her she can keep it for the night, but not to unsheath it unless they get the demon. The two stand up and howl like wolves then holding hands run screaming into the night to scare it away.
The scene is so brilliant, and so powerful in the way it shows the intense love this father has for his daughter, the clever way he dissolves her fears, and the craziness of the life they were living. It has stuck with me possibly more than all the others because I wish I had thought up something that clever when my son was little.
The Glass Castle opens nationwide on August 11th. I really hope you will go see it.