Young Augusten Burroughs absorbs experiences that could make for a shocking memoir: the son of an alcoholic father and an unstable mother, he's handed off to his mother's therapist, Dr. Finch, and spends his adolescent years as a member of Finch's bizarre extended family.
The daughter of a brilliant but mentally disturbed mathematician, recently deceased, tries to come to grips with her possible inheritance: his insanity. Complicating matters are one of her father's ex-students who wants to search through his papers and her estranged sister who shows up to help settle his affairs.
Three brothers reunite at a remote cabin in the woods, when beckoned by their father. The brothers are left to deal with the dark secrets and demons that have haunted them their whole lives... See full summary »
Scott Michael Campbell
The story of how a boy was abandoned by his mother and how he, later, abandoned her. The year he'll be 14, the parents of Augusten Burroughs (1965- ) divorce, and his mother, who thinks of herself as a fine poet on the verge of fame, delivers him to the eccentric household of her psychiatrist, Dr. Finch. During that year, Augusten avoids school, keeps a journal, and practices cosmetology. His mother's mental illness worsens, he takes an older lover, he finds friendship with Finch's younger daughter, and he's the occasional recipient of gifts from an unlikely benefactor. Can he survive to come of age? Written by
Black comedies can be very subjective to an audience. Running With Scissors isn't for everyone. The humor comes from the often shocking dysfunction the characters struggle with. Annette Bening plays a woman so selfish, egotistical and full of anger that she would destroy her family to satisfy her needs. Ms. Bening's performance is raw and spontaneous. Brian Cox plays the doctor she turns to who may or may not be an out and out quack, another stellar performance. Natalie Rachel Ward stands out as the doctors younger daughter while Gweneth Paltrow seems lost amongst the fine acting surrounding her, and although it is always good to see Jill Clayburgh in anything, I was not as impressed with her as I have been in the past. Alec Baldwins turn as Bening's husband is small, but he holds his own. In the midst of all the over the top, almost Gothic insanity is Bening and Baldwin's son, based on the author, subtly played by Joseph Cross. Joseph Fiennes has a difficult time with a difficult character, another victim of the doctor's "treatment".
I would agree with another commenter who stated that the director Ryan Murphy uses every trick in the book when it comes to film making and then some. I fully expected a musical number or a dream sequence. As evidenced in Nip Tuck, Murphy relies on music to enhance a mood. The art direction and costumes capture the seventies and all it's weirdness. As others have said RWS also reminded me of American Beauty in it's anti-American dream nature. This movie covers dark territory, doesn't have obvious comedy and doesn't follow any typical scenario although it did suffer from "sappy" moments. I can guarantee that you'll walk out of the theater happy that you aren't anyone in the film.
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