The Glass Castle Blu-ray Review

Ralph Potts reviews this drama that is based on the best-selling memoir, by Jeannette Walls, that chronicles the adventures of a young girl growing up in a dysfunctional family of nonconformist nomads.

The Review at a Glance:
(max score: 5 )



Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )



Studio and Year: Lionsgate – 2017
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Feature running time: 127 minutes
Genre: Drama/Biopic

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC
Video Aspect: 2.40:1
Resolution: 1080p/24

Audio Format(s): English Dolby TrueHD 7.1, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
Starring: Woody Harrelson, Naomi Watts, Brie Larson, Max Greenfield, Sarah Snook, Ella Anderson, Chandler Head
Directed by: Destin Daniel Cretton
Music by: Joel P. West
Written by: Destin Daniel Cretton, Andrew Lanham
Region Code: A

Release Date: November 7, 2017

“Based on the Best-Selling Memoir”

My Take:

Chronicling the adventures of an eccentric, resilient and tight-knit family, The Glass Castle is based on the best-selling memoir by Jeannette Walls, who grew up with parents whose ideals and stubborn nonconformity were both their curse and their salvation. Rex and Rose Mary Walls had four children, three girls, and a boy. In the early days, they lived like nomads, moving among Southwest desert towns, camping in the mountains. Rex was a charismatic, brilliant man who, when sober, captured his children’s imagination, teaching them, among other things, how to embrace life fearlessly. Rose Mary, who painted, referred to herself as an “excitement addict.” As the children got older, the dysfunction of the family escalated, leaving Jeannette and her siblings to, more or less, fend for themselves, supporting one another as they weathered their parents’ betrayals, until finally, finding the resources, and need, to leave home.

The Glass Castle is a human drama as told through the eyes of Jeanette Walls, from a personal perspective that depicts a life growing up where familial strife was the norm. The film draws from her well of pain, and heartbreak, but also reveals a strong woman whose journey became a stirring testament of unconditional love in a family that despite its profound flaws, gave her the determination to carve out a successful life on her own terms. I really enjoyed The Glass Castle. I found its characters and be genuine and perfectly framed within the context of the story. It’s a moving portrait of family, resiliency, and the bonds of love that can transcend dark times. The cast does a terrific job in their portrayal of the Wall family, from Woody Harrelson, on down to Ella Anderson and Chandler Head, who play Jeanette when she was younger.

The Glass Castle is an engaging coming of age drama that tells the real-life, and personal story, of a family that struggled to come together. I watched it with my wife and we both agreed that it was time well spent.

Replay Value:

Parental Guide: 

The rating is for mature thematic content involving family dysfunction, and for some language and smoking.

AUDIO/VIDEO – By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100/EXCELLENT = 83-91/GOOD = 74-82/AVERAGE = 65-73/BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**

Audio: 82
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Dynamics: 
  • Low frequency effects: 
  • Surround Sound presentation: 
  • Clarity/Detail: 
  • Dialog Reproduction: 
  • DSU/DTS Neural:X Rating * (non-rated element): NA

Video: 88
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Resolution/Clarity: 
  • Black Level/Shadow Detail: 
  • Color Reproduction: 
  • Fleshtones: 
  • Compression: 

The Glass Castle comes to Blu-ray Disc from Lionsgate Home Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 36 Mbps and lossless Dolby TrueHD 7.1 channel sound that has an average bitrate of 3.5 Mbps.

This is a pleasing high definition presentation that exhibits video quality that is consistent with a newer release film on Blu-ray Disc. This film is adorned by a sepia toned aesthetic that combines with its use of autumn colors, mainly browns, beiges, and reds, to set the thematic tone intended by the filmmakers. It rarely makes for eye catching imagery but the results are pleasing. Fleshtones are naturally rendered, falling in line with the film’s visual elements. Contrast is spot on and blacks are fairly delineated and deep. Images are crisp and resolute with defining sharpness that provides appreciable dimension. The video is whistle clean and shows no obvious signs of compression errors or video related anomalies.

The front heavy lossless surround mix features dialog that is full bodied with defining tonal characteristics and prominent soundstage position. High level detail is readily apparent as subtle sound effects, music and voices are rendered with superior clarity and depth. There is little call for surround activity and extended dynamics however there are a few instances that provide a discernable level of spatial envelopment accompanied by punchy low frequency enhancement.

Bonus Features:

  • 9 deleted scenes
  • The Glass Castle: Memoir to Movie
  • A Conversation with Jeanette Walls
  • Making of “Summer Storm” by Joel P. West
  • Scoring The Glass Castle
  • Bonus DVD
  • Digital HD Copy

Final Thoughts:

Based on the best-selling memoir by Jeanette Walls, The Glass Castle is an engaging portrait of a family that struggled to come together. It comes to Blu-ray from Lionsgate Home Entertainment featuring pleasing high definition video, clear lossless sound and a fair supplemental package that features insights from the cast, crew and real-life people depicted in the film. The Glass Castle may not prove wholly gratifying to some, but I enjoyed it. Toss it in your rental queue and give it a spin on Blu-ray.

Ralph Potts
online-shashki Forum Blu-ray Reviews

Reference Review System:

JVC DLA-RS500 3D/4K Ready High Definition Front Projector
(Calibrated with Calman 5 & C6-HDR Meter from Spectracal)
Stewart Filmscreen – Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16×9 Screen
Carada Masquerade Electronic Horizontal Masking System
Marantz AV7704 Audio/Video Processor
Sherbourn Technologies – 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier
B&K Reference 200.7 Series 2 Seven Channel Amplifier
Oppo UDP-203 Ultra HD Blu-ray Player
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player
System Controller: Apple iPad/iRule Pro HD Universal Remote Control
Canton “Ergo” and Canton In-Ceiling Series Speakers
SVS Ultra Surrounds (Gloss Finish in Bipolar Configuration)
SVS PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)
SVS SB-13 Ultra (Piano Gloss finish)
Panamax M5400-PM Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) – Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
AC Infinity Aircom T8 Component Cooling Systems 

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