“The Glass Castle” (Lionsgate)

Naomi Watts and Woody Harrelson star in a scene from the movie "The Glass Castle." The Catholic News Service classification is A-III -- adults. (CNS/Lionsgate)

By Catholic News Service

Film version of Jeannette Walls’ 2005 memoir of her impoverished childhood tries to put a cheery gloss on everything, as if all the excruciating history was somehow not as bad as it seemed at the time.

Together with her alcoholic, wannabe-engineer father (Woody Harrelson) and failed artist of a mother (Naomi Watts) — as well as her three siblings — Walls (Ella Anderson, mostly, as a child; Brie Larson from high school on) leads a peripatetic existence one step ahead of the law and bill collectors before ending up in Dad’s hometown of Welch, West Virginia. There are no moral forces at work in the story. There’s only the feral ability to survive. Yet director Destin Daniel Cretton, who co-wrote the screenplay with Andrew Lanham, avoids all the most wretched material from the book to invoke some kind of rosy Appalachian glow.

A brief scene of implied child sexual abuse, physical violence, fleeting profanities and rough language. The Catholic News Service classification is A-III — adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13 — parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.

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