Running With Scissors (2006)
The sad and disillusioned life and philosophy of Augusten Burroughs' unloving and dysfunctional upbringing in the late 1970s is the basis for this big screen adaptation by first-timer Ryan Murphy. It starts off promisingly with a soulful and inspired depiction of Augusten's family situation as a child - caught between the ignorance of his father and the self-centered love of his mother. Annette Bening does brilliantly well to convey the diverging energy and love of the mentally ill mother, and she keeps this film alive with her performance. Unfortunately, as Murphy progresses, he loses track of the emotional anchor and gets too hung up with the weirdness of Burrough's account. Murphy's explanations and characterizations are overdone without evoking the desired amusement or comedy. Also, it doesn't seem a wise move to exaggerate the eccentricity while at the same time glossing over the events that function as the foundation of Burrough's social criticism. The ensemble cast is largely fine, but 19-year-old Joseph Cross has a hapless task of portraying Augusten ranging in age from his early to his late teens.