Running With Scissors

Release Date: October 27, 2006
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Limited release

Movie of the Day for Wednesday, August 30, 2006
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Warren Beatty in the nude is no longer a pretty sight.

On the Big Board
Position Staff In Brief
49/52 Les Winan A bad movie about mean, horrible people that completely lacks the wit, humor or charm of the book.
144/200 Max Braden Great cinematography, but the tone is a major bummer.

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Before James Frey's A Million Little Pieces scandal turned memoir-writing into a somewhat dubious prospect, Augusten Burroughs was gaining popularity through the genre with books that describe the harrowing experiences of his childhood, his alcoholism and his developing sexuality. Running With Scissors is perhaps the best known of his works, and given its quirky characters and unbelievable events, it was only a matter of time before an indie-minded producer/studio turned the tale into an equally idiosyncratic film.

Augusten's story begins as a young lad, as he witnesses the deterioration of his parents' relationship. His father is distant and keeps to himself; meanwhile, Augusten's mother appears to be flat-out crazy. She keeps herself occupied by working on her poetry, and recognizing her own mental instability, spends frequent hours in the office of her psychologist, a man whom Augusten will come to know rather well.

When Augusten's mother becomes too mind-weary to care for him herself, she agrees with her therapist that the best course of action would be to turn her son over to him for a short period of time while she recovers. Augusten is a teenager when this occurs, and he soon realizes that "a short while" will turn into something far more significant. That would all be fine if his father figure's home was any sort of normal place. It's not, however. In fact, it's almost a madhouse in its own right. The home is occupied by a variety of denizens, most of them real family members of Dr. Finch. Augusten encounters poo on the floor, a young child in a diaper, and a pedophile who once lived in the back shed but returns for frequent visits.

Burrough's book was a popular one upon its release, and despite the unlikely sounding source material, it could transition well to the big screen. The project certainly isn't lacking in pedigree. Ryan Murphy, who is best known for groundbreaking work on the eccentric F/X series Nip/Tuck is at the helm and co-wrote the script with Burroughs. The still-luminescent Annette Bening plays Augusten's mother and Alec Baldwin is the lonely and angry father. Brian Cox portrays the over-the-top Dr. Finch, and Jill Clayburgh is his wife. Gwyneth Paltrow is Hope, a member of the Finch clan, and Evan Rachel Wood is Natalie, her sister. Joseph Fiennes has the role of Neil Bookman, the aforementioned pedophile and unlikely mentor for our young hero as he explores his own sexual preferences. Augusten himself is portrayed by Joseph Cross, primarily unknown up to now. (Kim Hollis/BOP)

Vital statistics for Running With Scissors
Main Cast Annette Bening, Joseph Cross, Gwyneth Paltrow
Supporting Cast Jill Clayburgh, Brian Cox, Joseph Fiennes, Evan Rachel Wood, Alec Baldwin, Gabrielle Union, Vanessa Redgrave, Kristin Chenoweth, Patrick Wilson
Director Ryan Murphy
Screenwriter Augusten Burroughs, Ryan Murphy
Distributor Sony/Columbia
Trailer Click Here for Trailer
Official Site
Rating R
Screen Count 8
Awards Awards page for Running With Scissors
Talent in red has entry in The Big Picture



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