Running with Scissors
“Running With Scissors” is the hilarious and poignant feature film based on the personal memoirs of Augusten Burroughs. Growing up in the 1970’s, young Augusten (Joseph Cross) was living a middle-class existence with an alcoholic father (Alec Baldwin) and a bipolar mother (Annette Bening), an unpublished poet with delusions of becoming famous. When his parents divorce, Augusten’s mother sends him to live with her wildly unorthodox psychiatrist, Dr. Finch (Brian Cox) and his eccentric extended family. Running With Scissors chronicles Augusten’s survival under the most extraordinary of circumstances.
This movie has two big D’s in it: It’s about a Dysfunctional family and it is Depressing! Norman and Deirdre Burroughs have a terrible marriage and it is affecting their son Augusten. Deirdre has a brilliant gift to write poetry but her mental state is slipping after one fight after another with her alcoholic husband Norman. Enter Dr. Finch, who seems at first to hold some hope for Deirdre. But soon her mental stability worsens as she leaves her son with the doctor and his dysfunctional family, takes up a lesbian relationship and allows her 13-year-old son to have a physical gay relationship with a 33-year-old schizophrenic. This is child molestation folks. The viewer also learns the good doctor is not only off his rocker, but after Deirdre’s money to save his home. Gwyneth Paltrow’s character practices what she calls “Bible dipping,” which is selecting scriptures at random and making them fit the situation no matter what. She comes across as weird, which is another example of Hollywood painting Bible believers in a negative light.
There is nothing cheery at all about this film. There is a blasphemous scene in which Augusten’s much older gay lover reads a poem titled “The Angry Nun,” and calls her “a whore of Jesus.” In one scene Dr. Finch believes his feces are shaped in a way as to be a message from God. I’m serious folks! This is horrible material. The doctor speaks of his own masturbation to the young Augusten. The F word is used so many times I lost count. Every character in the film is angry about something. One character tells another one to “Rot in Hell,” and we never approve films in which a character curses another one to Hell, unless there is a redemptive element later in the movie. If the editors of “Running with Scissors” used scissors to edit the garbage out of this film, about ten minutes of its 116 minute length might survive. Avoid this one like the plague.