There are quite a few terrific moments in this true story, based on the memoir by journalist Jeannette Walls. It's an account of a seriously mind-boggling childhood that sees years of mayhem through a remarkably clear perspective, only occasionally dipping into sentimentality. But the actors are terrific, bringing an earthy realism to their roles, including a stand-out turn from Woody Harrelson.
It opens in 1989 New York, as Jeannette (Brie Larson) lies to her prospective in-laws about her parents, with her nice-guy fiance (Max Greenfield) helping her create a story that obscures the truth: Rex and Rose Mary Walls (Harrelson and Naomi Watts) are essentially homeless, living a life deliberately off the grid in defiance of meddling governments and too-powerful businesses. Indeed, Jeannette was raised in a free-form way, and her siblings (Sarah Snook, Josh Caras and Brigette Lundy-Paine) understand why she tries to hide them from her high-flying Manhattan life. But they are determined to be involved with her, and after another of Rex's impulsively violent outbursts, Jeannette thinks it might be time to get away from them for good.
This story is interspersed with extensive flashbacks of Jeannette's childhood (in which she's played by Chandler Head and the excellent Ella Anderson), exploring Rex's lifelong desire to build his dream "glass castle" for the family to live in. But this strikingly intelligent man is undone by his hot temper and antagonistic approach to society, creating problems with his wife and children. Harrelson and Watts are terrific in their colourful roles as these brightly artistic people trying to make sure their kids are smart and free. By comparison, Larson can't help but seem a bit bland, especially in her puffy 80s suits and hairdos. So some of her emotional reactions to the people around her feel strangely abrupt.
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Jeanette Walls is raised with the idea that city life is not something to be desired. Her parents put themselves across to her and her siblings Lori, Brian and Maureen as adventurous travellers who believe that they don't need a proper education or a house with all the usual amenities - all they need is the open road and the stars. The reality is that her father Rex is an alcoholic and her mother Rose Mary is a failed artist and occasional teacher. They are constantly uprooting the kids and moving them around as they escape the FBI and their mounting debts, compromising their future as they disrupt their schooling. Eventually Jeannette and the others escape their parents for a life the complete opposite of what they grew up with, and have to find it within themelves to forgive them and show them that they are truly happy.
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When Myrtle (Tilly) was little, she lived a happy life, along with her mother in the small town of Dungatar. When the local school bully is found dead with Myrtle standing over the body, she is immediately accused of the murder and at the behest of the boy's father (who's also a town councillor) Tilly's packed off to boarding school to live a life away from the town and her mother.
Forced to grow up quickly, Tilly runs away to Europe where she finds herself being taken in by a skilled seamstress - sewing was one of the skills that her mother taught her before being forced to leave. Tilly eventually finds herself being recommended to a famous designer who teaches Tilly how to make wonderful clothes.
As years pass, Tilly's mother Molly Dunnage is still constantly talked about and at the centre of any rumours and little by little becomes less able to look after herself. Now living in her dilapidated home, there are few people who speak to her and even less willing to help the old lady to help look after her.
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Steve Jobs is widely regarded as a pioneer in the age of technology, making the computer accessible to all with his billionaire organisation Apple Inc. Though as much as he was a genius, he made a lot of enemies on his way to fame, fortune and recognition while relying on his skilled best friend Steve Wozniak. He refused to co-operate with much of the staff at Apple including CEO John Sculley, and henceforth detached himself from the company, but meanwhile his personal life was no more amicable. Refusing to be a father to his college girlfriend Chrisann Brennan's daughter Lisa and denying all paternity shone a bad light on him in the eyes of his family, his colleagues and the public especially when paternity was proven. But upon his return to Apple came a new man, humbled by his previous behaviour and willing to be both a father and a fair businessman. But of all the sacrifices he made to make Apple great, his health suffered most of all.
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'The Bartender' (Ethan Hawke) is the nickname given to a Temporal Agent whose job it is to stop crime before it occurs through the use of time travel. His aim is to make sure the law is enforced and people are protected throughout time, but it seems he has finally met his match when one seriously intelligent criminal manages to repeatedly slip through his clutches and cause devastating bomb explosions that have wiped out thousands. It's not an easy life, jumping in and out of a timeline as a career, but work is getting on top of The Bartender and he's about to discover just how exhausting time travel really can be, for both him and his nervous recruits.
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Jessabelle is still feeling the horror after a being involved in a car accident which killed her boyfriend and left her unable to use her legs. She travels to the home she grew up in in Louisiana to be with her father and discovers a package there apparently left by her deceased mother. Inside are some video tapes which feature her mother giving her a tarot reading where she explains that Jessabelle is not alone in the house. It isn't long before Jess starts to understand what she means as she begins to feel stalked by a malevolent spirit. She finds a gravestone in the woods with her name and birth date on it and starts to have a number of near death experiences. On telling her father about the tapes, he insists that the thing on them wasn't her mother. So who, or what, exactly is it?
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There are quite a few terrific moments in this true story, based on the memoir...
Jeanette Walls is raised with the idea that city life is not something to be...
When Myrtle (Tilly) was little, she lived a happy life, along with her mother in...
'The Bartender' (Ethan Hawke) is the nickname given to a Temporal Agent whose job it...