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Running with Scissors

6/10
Comedy . Drama
 

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.

 
Actors: Annette Bening , Brian Cox , Joseph Cross , Joseph Fiennes , Evan Rachel Wood , Alec Baldwin , Jill Clayburgh , Gwyneth Paltrow , Gabrielle Union , Patrick Wilson
Directors: Ryan Murphy
Country: USA
Release: 2006-10-27
More Info:
  • Tasha Robinson

    The surreality is distancing, but authentic, believable performances and a low-key affect keep Running From Scissors from turning shrill.

    The A.V. Club Full Review
  • Jack Mathews

    A reasonable facsimile of a perversely funny book whose odd characters are given life by a terrific cast.

    New York Daily News Full Review
  • Lou Lumenick

    While Murphy never manages to make this crazy quilt dramatically credible, he does hit the mark for laughs and has written some juicy scenes for his excellent cast.

    New York Post Full Review
  • Kate Taylor

    Wears a deep and sophisticated shade of black and is also very, very sad.

    The Globe and Mail (Toronto) Full Review
  • David Edelstein

    Ryan Murphy’s jaunty screen version of Running With Scissors proves that nothing consecrates one's depiction of a narcissistic mother like having her embodied by Annette Bening. Bening's specialties are (a) insane people and (b) actresses.

    New York Magazine (Vulture) Full Review
  • Rob Nelson

    Like the book, this deadpan celebration of neurosis makes a valiant effort to repress its comedy--which of course makes it funnier.

    Village Voice Full Review
  • A.O. Scott

    Ms. Bening's precise, pitiless tracing of her character's decline from feisty defiance to pathetic, overmedicated self-delusion gives the film an emotional weight it might not otherwise have.

    The New York Times Full Review
  • Dana Stevens

    By turns cruel, self-pitying, and mordantly witty, Bening makes living with a delusional psychotic seem like the adventure of a lifetime.

    Slate Full Review
  • Peter Travers

    Too much manic energy runs the movie off the rails.

    Rolling Stone Full Review
  • Ken Fox

    The movie winds up becoming "The Annette Bening Show," and she's quite good: Bening makes the most of a string of mad scenes for which any actress would kill, and the real pain she brings to the part grounds the film in something real.

    TV Guide Full Review
  • Ty Burr

    There's grace here if the movie were willing to dig for it. Occasionally it does.

    Boston Globe Full Review
  • Frank Scheck

    Too outlandish to be fully convincing, this adaptation of the best-selling memoir sacrifices subtlety for broad laughs.

    The Hollywood Reporter Full Review
  • Stephen Hunter

    This dame is as sick as a sick dog on a hot day, if still always perversely amusing, and the story is constructed as a survivor's ordeal, not a colorful picaresque.

    Washington Post Full Review
  • Shawn Levy

    The hearty performances are undone by the forced eccentricity of the sets, the clothes, the music and, especially, the characters. The film is ugly and facile and childish in its love of its own naughtiness. Only Jill Clayburgh, as a creepy woman in whose home Augusten must live, feels human. The rest is no more real than a "Simpsons" episode -- and offers fewer laughs.

    Portland Oregonian Full Review
  • Michael Sragow

    From the moment he enters the picture, Baldwin looks good and sick of the whole scene. Unless you're in the mood for dysfunctional-family vaudeville, it won't take long for you to catch up with him.

    Baltimore Sun Full Review
  • Connie Ogle

    While the attentive art direction of Running With Scissors pays scrupulous and imaginative attention to period detail, the film overlooks its greatest asset: Burroughs.

    Miami Herald Full Review
  • Steven Rea

    Alas, something happened on the book-to-screen operating table: Yes, Running With Scissors is rich, twisted, insane, mordant and ridiculous, but it is not funny. Not at all.

    Philadelphia Inquirer Full Review
  • Ruthe Stein

    A wildly erratic, often annoying but never boring endeavor.

    San Francisco Chronicle Full Review
  • Claudia Puig

    Running With Scissors lacks the edge of Augusten Burroughs' best-selling memoir. The result is an inconsistent tragicomedy that attempts to be cut from the same darkly humorous cloth as "American Beauty," but fails.

    USA Today Full Review
  • Pete Vonder Haar

    Murphy doesn't have much of a handle on juggling laughs with pathos, and this makes some of the more touching scenes unintentionally amusing. The film, like Augusten's life, is uneven but not without its charms.

    Film Threat Full Review
  • Lisa Schwarzbaum

    Watching Running With Scissors the movie instead of reading Running With Scissors the best-selling memoir by Augusten Burroughs is like running with a spatula, or maybe some weird toast tongs.

    Entertainment Weekly Full Review
  • Stephanie Zacharek

    Baldwin brings so much lumbering weariness to his role that we can't help feeling something for his character

    Salon.com Full Review
  • Justin Chang

    Writer-director Ryan Murphy strives mightily to capture the bracing hilarity, pathos and surreal incident of Burroughs' bestselling memoir, but this rudderless adaptation never gets a firm grip on the author's deadpan tone or episodic narrative style.

    Variety Full Review
  • William Arnold

    In the end, there's also something distinctly distasteful about a movie in which the central figure casts himself as noble martyr while character-assassinating his parents.

    Seattle Post-Intelligencer Full Review
  • Will Lawrence

    Well-acted by the superb ensemble cast but there just isn't a likeable character amongst them to care about.

    Empire Full Review
  • Marc Savlov

    I'm not entirely sure, but near as I can tell, this adaptation of Augusten Burroughs' memoir of family dysfunction finally and irrevocably lost me right about where the cat ended up in the stew pot, stirred with maniacally morose glee by Paltrow.

    Austin Chronicle Full Review
  • Ella Taylor

    One expects neither subtlety nor surprise from a scenario boasting a household pet named Freud. If there's any reason at all to see Running With Scissors, it' Bening.

    L.A. Weekly Full Review
  • Carina Chocano

    Murphy, who created the creepy, funny, lunatic "Nip/Tuck," is a master of mordant and macabre camp. But here he loses his teeth, seeming to lack any ironic distance from material that practically begs for it.

    Los Angeles Times Full Review
  • Glenn Kenny

    For the most part, Murphy is pitching somewhere between "American Beauty" and "The Royal Tenenbaums"; indeed, the characters Bening and Gwyneth Paltrow play in Scissors are, in a sense, inversions of their roles in Beauty and Tenenbaums, respectively.

    Premiere Full Review
  • Jonathan Rosenbaum

    Murphy seems either incapable of or uninterested in creating a recognizable world, so local comic effects count for everything.

    Chicago Reader Full Review
  • Michael Phillips

    Laughing at the freaks and then feeling bad about it is the sole reason for the existence of this pale little film.

    Chicago Tribune Full Review
  • Joanne Kaufman

    Ms. Bening takes her part and acts it all over the place, while Ms. Paltrow and Ms. Wood do their best theater of the absurd. It is left to Ms. Clayburgh, in a performance free of vanity and artifice, to find the movie's heart.

    Wall Street Journal Full Review
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