The true story of Augusten Burroughs's beginnings, sound like a demented work of fiction. That's true of most true things. Here, putting aside what's real and what may be a figment of Augusten's imagination, there is a movie. A slightly confused, a bit pretentious but unquestionably fun movie with some high caliber actors at the top of their game. Annette Bening to start with, extraordinary and without clinging to one of her delightful giggles. She is a magnificent, deplorable human spectacle. Reconizable and yet totally alien. Her character is in her way down from the word go and she (Annette or Deidre)don't shy away from the most devastating human blows. She is surrounded by a beautifully designed human zoo of extreme characters. They carry their eccentricities like badges of honor. Brian Cox, superb as the Dickensian know-it-all, his daughters , Evan Rachel Wood and the magnificent Gwynneth Paltrow who can tell you more with half a look than with two pages of exposition. Jill Claybourgh! Goodness gracious me! Where has she been? She's the throbbing heart of the matter, dog food an all. Her sanity, hidden behind a demented, neglected hairdo, is as real as Joseph Cross' Augusten Burroughs. Joseph Finnes's gorgeous nut doesn't have a great deal of sexual chemistry with his under age lover but maybe he wasn't suppose to. As if all this wasn't enough, Alec Baldwin, giving one of the best performances of his career in a character who's on the screen for only a few minutes. Woody Allen, John Irvin even Eugene Ionesco and Frank Perry are present in this engaging display of human frailty. Terrific surprise.
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