Running with Scissors

2008-11-30 14:52
 
The film is writer/director Ryan Murphy's interpretation of Augusten Burroughs' personal memoir. In the film, Murphy tells the story of not only a warped, out-of-control, 70s-era coming of age, but also of the strange power of families, the wonderment of childhood, the madness of adulthood and the revelation of finding your way in spite of it all.

The movie begins in 1971 as the neatness-obsessed but sharply observant 6 year-old Augusten (Joseph Cross) finds himself trapped between his troubled parents: his mother Deirdre (Annette Bening), an unpublished, not to mention unstable, confessional poet with delusions of being hugely famous, and his father Norman (Alec Baldwin), an alcoholic math professor who long ago gave up trying to solve the riddle of his wife's problems or his son's precocious behaviour.

When the Burroughs' marriage goes to pieces, Deirdre signs up for therapy with the eccentric Dr. Finch (Brian Cox), a highly unconventional shrink who takes the family under his wing. From the beginning, Augusten is suspicious of Dr. Finch's peculiarities - his office includes, among other oddities, a Masturbatorium where the good doctor goes to relax in the middle of tedious sessions. But when Dr. Finch fails to save the Burroughs' marriage, Augusten's life takes an even more wrenching turn. While Deirdre is packed off to a motel to continue her Valium-aided therapy, Augusten is sent to live in the Finch family home - a kind of Brady-Bunch-gone-bad world where for some dog kibble is a snack, sedatives are consumed like candy and grand prophecies emerge from the bathroom.

As Augusten unwittingly becomes part of the family - which also includes the shell-shocked Mrs. Finch (Jill Clayburgh), "Bible-dipping" daughter Hope (Gwyneth Paltrow), disco-rebel daughter Natalie (Evan Rachel Wood) and Neil Bookman (Joseph Fiennes), Finch's disturbed, 35 year-old, "adopted" son who lives in a shed at the back of the house - he will descend into a kind of surreal childhood hell. Yet, he will also find optimism among the horror, hilarity in the insanity and even love amid the dilapidated ruins as he never loses his spirit or his resilience. Ultimately, Augusten will survive through the most extraordinary of circumstances.
Running With Scissors is the tale of how a young man survived a nightmare childhood - while keeping his sense of humour and his sense of forgiveness intact.

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