Saturday, November 04, 2006

Movie Review: Running with Scissors

Running with Scissors is based on the book of the same title by Augusten Burroughs. It’s his memoir, and my god, what a childhood he had.

From the previews you might believe the mother to be a drama queen and the father to be a bit of a drinker. This is simply too much of an understatement.

This movie is simultaneously hysterically laugh-out-loud funny, painfully disheartening, and disturbing.

The cast has done a superb job of making each character real, believable, flawed, lovable, and despicable:

  • Annette Bening: here’s an actress who is willing to take on ugly roles and put her all into them. Her performance is stellar. She embraces her role as the self-absorbed, mentally unstable, overly dramatic mother. Like her American Beauty role, she’s the mom you love to hate. Only here it’s less about glamour and more about self-absorbed poetry.
  • Brian Cox: Cox could get away with just using his amazing voice to be a convincing therapist, but his delivery is so spot on that you’ll have moments of wanting him to be your therapist. You really don’t, but you might be tempted to at least engage him in conversation so he will take you on a tour of his masturbatorium.
  • Joseph Cross: Our protagonist, while looking a bit older than the 13-15 years he is supposed to portray throughout the movie, is otherwise stellar. His ability to hold his own in scenes with Bening and Cox will make you forgive the obvious age discrepancy.

The rest of the cast includes such notables as Joseph Fiennes, Evan Rachel Wood, Alec Baldwin, Jill Clayburgh, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Gabrielle Union. All did an outstanding job.

Since this is an autobiography, it’s character heavy, not plot heavy, so the one thing that was hard for me was the pacing and the limited plot (I always want something to happen). Still, it’s worth the price of admission and the 2 hours of your life.

Forget your childhood trauma. Your mother never gave you away to her therapist, did she?

AV Rating: 4/5 stars

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