Running with Scissors (2006)

running with scissors poster 2006 movie
5.0 Overall Score
Story: 4/10
Acting: 7/10
Visuals: 5/10

Jill Clayburgh, good cast

Feels like a desperate award grab that is a Wes Anderson knockoff

Movie Info

Movie Name: Running with Scissors

Studio: Plan B Entertainment

Genre(s): Comedy/Drama

Release Date(s): October 20, 2006

MPAA Rating: R

running with scissors finch family brian cox evan rachel wood jill clayburgh gwynth paltrow

The Finch family is…different

Augusten Burroughs (Joseph Cross) had an unconventional childhood.  The child of Norman Burroughs (Alec Baldwin) and Deirdre Burroughs (Annette Bening), Augusten found himself in the middle of feuding writers where the battles often got physical.  When Deidre meets psychiatrist Dr. Finch (Brian Cox), Augusten finds his already strange life twist again when his mother leaves him to stay with Finch, his wife Agnes (Jill Clayburgh), his daughter Hope (Gwyneth Paltrow), and his other daughter Natalie (Evan Rachel Wood).  The Finch house isn’t your everyday house and the Finch family is by no means normal…getting out and getting free might be Augusten’s only hope.

Directed by Ryan Murphy (who wrote the script), Running with Scissors is a comedy-drama biopic.  Adapting the 2002 bestselling memoir by Augusten Burroughs, the film was met with mixed reviews.

Running with Scissors is quirky…that’s its hitch and it feels desperate.  With tons of quirky movies coming out from the likes of people like Wes Anderson and others, Running with Scissors almost feels like a parody of quirky films…which is ironic since it is “reality”.

running with scissors miracle poop brian cox joseph cross evan rachel wood jill clayburgh gwyneth paltrow

It’s magic poop…

The movie tries too hard.  The people involved in the story have contradicted some of Augusten’s portrayals of events and people including Finch.  Finch is portrayed as the glue to the family, but he appears like a con-artist through much of the film since most of his patients seem to get worse while he takes their money (which includes his own daughter’s trust fund).  It doesn’t make him endearing or kind…in fact, there isn’t anyone particularly likable in most of the film.

The cast is solid but let down by the script.  The film feels like an award grab film and Annette Bening seems to be trying the hardest in the movie as Augusten’s unbalanced mother (she did get a Golden Globe nomination).  Despite this, I feel that Jill Clayburgh’s more refined and subtle performance is the best of the female roles.  Brian Cox and Joseph Fiennes get to be the boisterous, insane roles, and Joseph Cross largely seems just “there” as Augusten who (like most of the characters) are portrayed in a way that doesn’t come off as real…no matter how many times the script says you wouldn’t believe it is real, it doesn’t matter.

running with scissors deirdre burroughs annette benning

I’d like to thank the Academy…wait, I’m not nominated?!?!

The film does a lot to take the stylization of a Wes Anderson film.  The type of shots, the use of music, and sets like Anderson, but it seems like a cheap copy.  It doesn’t have the weight and the power to the shots that allows Anderson to have the levity in his movies in spite of the plots.  Running with Scissors just seems like a knockoff.

Running with Scissors is a forgettable film.  It simply tries too hard and screams “Give me an Academy Award for acting!” for most of the cast or an adaptation for the script.  There isn’t enough here, and the heart of Augusten’s memoir is lost in a rather empty quasi-comedy drama that isn’t very dramatic or funny.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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