for sinister thematic elements, violence, drug content, and language.
as Ruby Baker
Basically a glorified made for TV movie, The Glass House was a weak thriller saved only by the blossoming star power of Leelee Sobieski.
Sobieski plays Ruby Baker, a typical 16 year old high school student. One night her parents die in a tragic car accident, and Ruby and her younger brother Rhett (Trevor Morgan) have to go live with their new guardians, Terry and Erin Glass (Stellan Skarsgård and Diane Lane). At first things seem OK, but quickly Ruby starts to believe that maybe their new guardians aren't really there to protect them. Terry appears to owe a lot of money to some loan sharks, and Erin has a drug problem. And when Ruby finds out that her parents left her and her brother $4 million, she comes to the horrifying conclusion that the Glass's are ready to knock her off.
The plot of The Glass House was fairly straightforward and not very in depth. There were a lot of holes that while not taking away from the movie, just left me wondering why any of this was happening. Why Terry owed money to loan sharks for instance, was never really discussed. Some sort of plan he had that didn't work and something to do with Erin being a doctor. And then trying to get a lot of money by killing off Ruby and Rhett's parents and taking control of their trust fund seems like a strange way to go about getting a lot of money in a hurry. There were some twists and turns, like whether or not the lawyer (Bruce Dern) was in on the whole plot. Well actually that was the only twist or turn and that ended rather abruptly. And some of the dialogue and edits were just strange. When Ruby and her friends leave a movie theater after seeing some slasher film, one of them talks about Meryl Streep. Her friend asks, "Who is Meryl Streep?" and her friend answers, "She's like Katie Holmes to our parents generation" or something close to that. Come on. I love Katie Holmes as much as the next full blooded male, but this is ridiculous. And almost 80% of the way through the film, after Ruby has left her friends back in the Valley, there is suddenly this cut to the friends walking out of some store complaining about how they haven't talked to Ruby in ages. I didn't see the point of that at all.
I had visions of Judith Light and one of those Carradine brothers playing the evil guardians, and a younger Tracey Gold being the teenager in terror. I could easily see this movie being on Lifetime or USA in the near future, because it just had a cheap made-for-tv feel about it. A weak story, not very interesting characters, motivations that came from nowhere. If not for Sobieski, this movie would have been a complete waste of time. It almost felt like this movie was beneath her. Between her and Natalie Portman, I feel the two of them should stop taking these schlocky roles and concentrate on making real movies. They are two very talented actresses who I predict will be taking away a few awards in their time. Leelee has a quality about her that makes her command a screen, even in ridiculous films. And please don't tell me she reminds people of Helen Hunt. Helen Hunt, while a talented actress, basically plays Helen Hunt in every film she's in. Sobieski has done some different types of roles so far in her career and still has time to blossom into a time movie star.
So overall The Glass House was a cheap Saturday afternoon thriller that didn't have a lot of thrills. Turn on Lifetime or USA any weekday afternoon and you can see this type of woman-in-peril flick over and over again.
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