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.

Director:

Ryan Murphy

Writers:

Ryan Murphy (screenplay), Augusten Burroughs (book)
Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 3 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »

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Photos

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Annette Bening ... Deirdre Burroughs
Brian Cox ... Dr. Finch
Joseph Fiennes ... Neil Bookman
Evan Rachel Wood ... Natalie Finch
Alec Baldwin ... Norman Burroughs
Joseph Cross ... Augusten Burroughs
Jill Clayburgh ... Agnes Finch
Gwyneth Paltrow ... Hope Finch
Gabrielle Union ... Dorothy
Patrick Wilson ... Michael Shephard
Kristin Chenoweth ... Fern Stewart
Dagmara Dominczyk ... Suzanne
Colleen Camp ... Joan
Jack Kaeding ... Six-Year-Old Augusten Burroughs
Gabriel Guedj Gabriel Guedj ... Poo
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Storyline

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 <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Ever have one of those lives? See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong language and elements of sexuality, violence and substance abuse | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Julianne Moore was originally attached to play Deirdre Burroughs. See more »

Goofs

In 1978 the Gothic soap opera "Dark Shadows" was being shown on the TV in Dr. Finch's house. The show was cancelled in 1971 an wasn't shown in reruns on cable until the 80's. See more »

Quotes

Dr. Finch: [Finch wakes up and sees Neil standing over him with scissors] Neil? What're you doing, son?
Neil Bookman: SHUT UP! I'm not your son!
Natalie: What the hell is going on?
Dr. Finch: It's all right.
[Neil drops the scissors and walks away crying]
Dr. Finch: Neil? Neil! NEIL!
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Connections

Featured in At the Movies: The Worst of 2006 (2007) See more »

Soundtracks

Blinded by the Light
Written by Bruce Springsteen
Performed by Manfred Mann's Earth Band
Courtesy of Warner Bros. Records, Inc.
By arrangement with Warner Music Group Film & TV Licensing and courtesy of Creature Music, Ltd.
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User Reviews

 
Running with Scissors is strange and psychotically contagious
21 October 2006 | by samseescinemaSee all my reviews

Running with Scissors reviewed by Sam Osborn

I've become all too wary of memoirs lately. Not because of the James Frey debacle, but because they've become the literary equivalent of the biopic at the movies. Just as I've grown tired of seeing the rise and inevitable fall of infamous icons during Oscar season, I've grown tired of plowing through the literary lives of men and women compelled to account their abusive childhoods, sexual deviancy, problems with drugs and alcohol, and, the real must, their harebrained families. The books sell well because readers love gossip, scandal, and melodrama. Running with Scissors has no shortage of such pulpy details, as its hero, Augusten Burroughs, has all the makings of memoir sentimentality. He was born into a selfish, dysfunctional family, adopted by his mother's psychiatrist, attempted suicide, turned out to be gay, and was exposed to sex at a young age under the hands of a man much past his age. His life was, if nothing else, screwed up enough to put into a book. But while I'm a pessimist to the genre, Running with Scissors is strange and psychotically contagious.

To oversimplify the matter, the film is a collection of people dealing with their issues. Heading up the Burroughs family is Norman Burroughs (Alec Baldwin), a business man with the sedated lick of alcoholism whose only wish seems to be to sidestep his wife's raging narcissism. Dierdre (Annete Bening), his wife, is a selfish would-be writing starlet whose lack of talent is constantly at odds with the confidence that she deserves a Nobel Prize. Her failure she blames on the supposed acts of sabotage by Norman, of which she confides in her only son Augusten. The family begins counseling with Doctor Finch (Brian Cox), the man who eventually adopts Augusten when Norman walks out and Dierdre begins popping Valium like prescription Skittles. The Finch family seems to be no upgrade though, as Agnes (Jill Clayburgh), the mother, is first seen munching on dog kibble, Hope (Gwyneth Paltrow), the favored daughter, is known to talk to her cat Freud, and Natalie (Evan Rachel Wood), the second daughter, tries to open Augusten up by using electro-shock therapy. Their home is an old-money palace painted blazing pink, with various lawn furniture, cobbled windows, and a Christmas tree that's been erect for over two years.

My Mother happens to be mildly obsessed with Augusten Burroughs. She speaks of his stories and literary adventures as though they're the loopy reveries of a second son she birthed into paperback. So several months ago I took her to our hometown bookshop, The Boulder Bookstore, to see Mr. Burroughs speak on his most recent book, Magical Thinking. I'd read a few of his stories at my Mom's urgent requests and flipped through a couple chapters of his first memoir (the film's source), Running with Scissors, in preparation. I knew enough, I felt, to hold my own in a book signing. But as the first hand was raised during the Q&A segment of the presentation, a woman asked how Augusten's dog was doing, how his partner was holding up, if they'd purchased that house he mentioned, and if those shoes were still in mint condition. I was obviously behind the curve. Mr. Burroughs has entrusted so much of his intimate life with his writing. It's organic and swelling with humor drawn from a frank self-awareness that doesn't embarrass him or his readers. His audience isn't a third-party to his life, they're all his closest friends; quite a job for rookie feature Writer/Director Ryan Murphy.

Murphy approaches the material very cinematically, using every magic trick offered to him by his technicians. This is no shaky, documentary-style memoir that shreds cinema to the tatters of the broken characters on screen. Murphy's characters are heightened to hyperbolic altitude, but are anchored to a reality only gotten from the pages of non-fiction accounting. His film is tightly-knit, too, with every line of dialogue truly used and with characters' stories intertwined into a family of glowing psychosis. It makes for a film constructed from quirk and color, but Murphy's characters can't seem to escape from being so human. They deal with their issues, but like humans, rarely manage to solve them. It can be appalling and sometimes painful, but Burroughs and Murphy's stories are just too lovely to turn your back to.

Rating: 3.5 out of 4

Sam Osborn


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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

27 October 2006 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Running with Scissors See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$12,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$226,108, 22 October 2006

Gross USA:

$7,022,827

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$7,460,797
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

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Sound Mix:

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Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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