Running with Scissors is a 2006 American film based on Augusten Burroughs' 2002 memoir of the same name, written and directed by Ryan Murphy, and starring Joseph Cross, Annette Bening, Brian Cox, Joseph Fiennes, Evan Rachel Wood, Alec Baldwin, Jill Clayburgh, and Gwyneth Paltrow.
The film is a semi-autobiographical account of Augusten Burroughs' (Joseph Cross) childhood. His mother, Deirdre (Annette Bening), who wishes to become a famous poet, suffers from severe mood swings and erratic behavior. Augusten's alcoholic father, Norman (Alec Baldwin), proves to be of no help. By the time he is a teenager, Augusten no longer feels safe in his own house because of his parents. Deirdre claims that Norman is the reason for her unhappiness, and that he desires to kill her. She ultimately places Augusten under the care of her psychiatrist, Dr. Finch (Brian Cox), the eccentric patriarch of an oddball family, which consists of his submissive wife Agnes (Jill Clayburgh), religious daughter Hope (Gwyneth Paltrow), and his rebellious youngest child Natalie (Evan Rachel Wood).
Augusten finds it hard to adjust to living with the doctor’s family, and is subject to irregular weekend visits by his increasingly unsound mother. After confessing to Natalie that he is gay, Augusten befriends Neil Bookman (Joseph Fiennes), Finch's adopted 33-year-old son. The two begin an erratic sexual relationship quickly after meeting, but Augusten finds it difficult to cope with their age difference.
Finch manipulates Deirdre into signing over her money to him. Deirdre finds temporary stability with her living companion Dorothy Ambrose (Gabrielle Union), but Augusten feels like his mother no longer wants him, and deals with the negative effects of Neil's schizophrenia.
At the end of the movie, Augusten leaves for New York to become a writer. He says goodbye to his mother and goes to the bus station. Agnes, with whom he has developed a caring relationship, arrives and gives him some money she has saved up.
The review aggregator website Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating, gave the film a score of 52 out of 100, based on 32 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews". On Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds a 31% approval rating, based on 130 reviews, with an average score of 5/10. The site's consensus states: " Despite a few great performances, the film lacks the sincerity and emotional edge of Burroughs' well-loved memoir".
The soundtrack for the film was released on September 26, 2006, a month prior to the film's release.
- "Pick Up the Pieces" – Average White Band
- "Blinded by the Light" – Manfred Mann's Earth Band
- "The Things We Do for Love" – 10cc
- "Mr. Blue" – Catherine Feeny
- "One Less Bell to Answer" – The 5th Dimension
- "Quizás, Quizás, Quizás" (Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps) – Nat King Cole
- "Poetry Man" – Phoebe Snow
- "Bennie and the Jets" – Elton John
- "Year of the Cat" – Al Stewart
- "O Tannenbaum" – Vince Guaraldi Trio
- "A Great Ocean Liner" – James S. Levine
- "Stardust" – Nat King Cole
- "Teach Your Children" – Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young
An adaptation of Telepopmusik's "Another Day" was also an underlying theme that recurred several times throughout the film. "Waltz For Debby", "Very Early", and "Re: Person I Knew", by Bill Evans are used in the film as well. The song playing in the "Stew" scene is "d-moll" by the duo Tosca off of their album Delhi 9; this theme is repeated through the film.