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Running with Scissors [Blu-ray] [Blu-ray] (2007)

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Product Details

  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Chinese, Korean
  • Dubbed: French
  • Region: Region A/1
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • ASIN: B000M5B98K
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #118,066 in DVD (See Top 100 in DVD)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 178 reviews
28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
Best movie of the year Oct. 7 2007
By KBM - Published on
Format: DVD
I don't know how I could have missed this when it first came out. Augusten Burroughs is my favorite memoirist and I've read all his books and praise them all. So, when I heard that Running with Scissors was being made into a film I was thrilled. I think, though, when I saw that it was marketed as a comedy AND the reviews were just mediocre, I decided not to see it. Big mistake.

This is an amazing story. And, the cast was incredible-- the acting absolutely superb. I am just shocked at the poor reviews here. Not one thing was wrong with this movie. Really. Not one thing.

Jill Clayburgh and Annette Benning should have received an Academy for their part in this. Brian Cox was fantastic. And Joseph Cross, as Augusten was absolutely perfect. I can't praise Cross enough and I don't think too many people would have been able to pull this character off. Knowing Burroughs from his books, you see he has a caustic yet self-deprecating wit. But, to actually SEE him as the child he was-- maintaining his innocence while being exposed to horrendous circumstances he was exposed to actually made me appreciate Burroughs even more than I already do. Alec Baldwin, as always, played his brief part perfectly-- with empathy and depth.

Burroughs grew up in one of the most dysfunctional homes you will ever read about. After his parents divorced, he lived with his mentally ill and completely narcissistic mother until she handed Augusten over to her just-as-mentally-ill psychiatrist to raise him. The environment in this psychiatrist's home has to be seen (or read about) to be believed. Poor Augusten lived there for several years while his mother attempted to "find herself" and nurture herself at her son's expense. She even had the psychiatrist adopt her son.

Ironically, although it is difficult not to blame Burroughs' mother in all this- she's the epitome of narcissism-- the truth is, the MD is really the one to be reviled. Had his mother been treated by almost any other mental health professional rather than this one, it is likely everyone in Augusten's family would have been better off. Instead of treating his patients, the doctor did everything to mistreat them. I would like to believe that he was just insane, too, with no evil intent. But the truth is, I'm not so sure.

Somehow, despite his childhood, Augusten Burroughs became an adult to be admired. He went through incredibly difficult times, even after he left the psychiatrist's home. But, he persevered and his character was not permanently damaged. When reading his other books, it's clear that he analyzes all his behaviors and feelings and strives to be the best person he can possibly be.

This film is NOT a comedy. It has comedic elements, but it is a travesty that it was marketed as a comedy. One of the things that makes Burroughs' books so good is his dry (almost gallows) humor. But, his life isn't really a comedy. It's a tragedy that, thankfully, has a happy ending. Yes, I laughed at some parts, but it's laughter at the horror of what he lives through and the insanity of his environment. This movie is one of the most gut-wrenching films I've seen and should have been marketed entirely differently.

I really hope that the bad reviews here won't deter you from either purchasing or renting this film. I can't praise it highly enough.
28 of 31 people found the following review helpful
If You Think Your Family Is Nuts... April 22 2007
By Cherise Everhard - Published on
Format: DVD
...they'll seem like the poster children for mental and emotional health, after watching this film!

Augusten Burroughs (Joseph Cross) grows up in a household with his mother, Deirdre (Annette Benning), who has severe mental stability issues. I am no psychiatrist so I am not even going to try to label her. He also has an alcoholic father, Norman (Alec Baldwin), who seems to have little to no interest in his son. In fact, because of his absence, I thought at the beginning of the film Augusten's parents were already divorced.

Deirdre is more dependant on her son than he is on her, he seems to care for her, and she seems to lean on him. She is an aspiring poet who lets her son skip school to do her hair and plan parties. The mother and father fight right in front of Augusten without a thought to him or his feelings. After a rather explosive fight they seek marital counseling and that's our introduction to the colorful Dr. Finch (Brian Cox). Through a series of events Augusten ends up living with the Finch's and we are wrapped up in another household filled with the emotionally and mentally unstable.

Despite his surroundings, you watch Augusten grow up to be relatively 'normal'. In his need for stability and normalcy, he finds the unlikely hero in the form of the long suffering housewife of Dr.Finch, Agnes (Jill Clayburgh). She really touched me in the way she cared for Augusten.

With all the craziness that occurs in this film, it should be a lot darker than it is. Surprisingly this movie makes humor out of situations that should horrify. I laughed more than I cried; I giggled more than I gasped. In real life, none of the situations portrayed would be amusing, I don't think I could have watched the film without the humor; it would have been too depressing. The acting in this movie, by everyone, was absolutely excellent, real and flawless. The movie reminded me a bit of The Royal Tenenbaums, the crazy, surreal family.

This was a good movie and I really enjoyed it, but it did make me think people should have to pass a series of tests in order to procreate and raise children, yikes!
21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
Dark Humor found in a dysfunctionally functional childhood Feb. 7 2007
By Concerned One - Published on
Format: DVD
This was a plesent surprise to pick up and watch the film adaptation of this book based on the memiors of Augusten Burrough, who at the age of 15 was signed away by his mother into the guardianship of her psychiatrist. This movie does an excellent job of portraying mental illness (bipolar and schizophrenia) and what actually occurs in the minds and daily lives of those who struggle with it. As for the Dr. Fitch, he is the exception to regular psychiatry, with loose boundaries and inappropriate relations with patients ended actually helping one of them. To those with mental illness, what appears to be real or "normal" to them can appear unbelievable to us. For Agusten, he grew up with no rules or boundaries, and it is amazing to see what will and insight can do. This is a great depiction of someone who overcame tremendous barriers to become something great. Thank him for sharing it with us. Rent this buy this read this, worth the time
16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
Dark Pyshological Comedy Feb. 8 2007
By B. Merritt - Published on
Format: DVD
Definitely one of the most dark psychological comedies to come along in years, RUNNING WITH SCISSORS has an excellent cast telling a truly warped story. What makes this even more interesting is that it's semi-autobiographical. Based on the life of Augusten Burroughs and his dysfunctional surroundings, young actor Joseph Cross does an excellent job in portraying what it must've been like to grow up an adolescent amidst the chaos of mental illness, yet come out the other end as a functioning adult.

Annette Bening stars as Deidre Burroughs, Augusten's unstable mother, and does so brilliantly. Her mood swings and mental breakdowns are frightening, tear-jerky, and funny all at the same time. When she sets up Augusten to be adopted by her psychiatrist, the audience feels both a sense of relief and a terrible foreboding. Brian Cox stars as the manipulative yet strangely lovable psychoanalyst, Dr. Finch. His family is a mish-mash of his own kids and those he's adopted and taken advantage of financially. His wife Agnes, played superbly by Jill Clayburgh, is one of the shining lights in the film, giving us a much needed resting post to lean against while trying to grasp the amazing flaws of everyone else (she has her shortcomings, too, but they aren't as broad).

The story pulls no punches either, showing how Augusten's early development lead him toward homosexuality, Dr. Finch discussing his masturbatorium (figure it out), Deidre exploring lesbianism after a nasty divorce from her husband (played very well by Alec Baldwin), and the discovery of bowel movements as prognosticators.

The only downside to the entire movie was that it feels unbalanced, sometimes accelerating through scenes in mere seconds before grabbing traction again and moving fluidly forward.

One could also see the screenplay being a complete disaster if it weren't for the all-star, powerhouse cast. Brian Cox, Annette Bening, Alec Baldwin, Gwyneth Paltrow, Evan Rachel Woods, Joseph Fiennes, and many, many others lend their ample talents to the film. But the ending certainly makes up for any lagging script qualities. To learn that Augusten survived this raucous period in his life and came out the other end still a productive member of society is something to marvel at. And you probably will...
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Great Performances and Original Plot Feb. 7 2007
By SORE EYES - Published on
Format: DVD
A famous writer once said that all families are unhappy but no two families share the same unhappiness. Based on the memoir of Augusten Burroughs, Running With Scissors is the story of a dysfunctional family, but a dysfunctional family you've never seen before.

Young Augusten (Jack Kaeden) is a chronic school skipper who stays at home to feed his mother Deidre's (Annette Benning) ego. Augusten lovingly puts curlers in Deidre's hair and attentively listens to her poetry readings at the living room microphone. Augusten optimistically assures Deidre that the poem "really does sound like something you'd read in the New Yorker".

Deidre and Norm Burroughs (Alec Baldwin) are unhappy. They seek the help of a quack-California-psychiatrist who hooks Deidre on the pill du jour of the 70's-valium. Norm moves out. Deidre claims she is happy with the divorce because now she can "concentrate on her writing" but spends a good deal of time in bed-on pills and with her psychiatrist. Augusten is left at the psychiatrists home-a cupcake pink monstrosity that beats Grey Gardens on the squalor meter-while Deidre and Doctor Finch (Brian Cox) go to a motel. Mom never really returns to Augusten's life.

Seeking love, Augusten is comforted by the amorous attention of a pediophile, Neil Bookman (Joseph Finnes) who is also a patient of Finch. Augusten sometimes returns home for weekend visits to witness the decline of his mother. Augusten is legally adopted by Finch so that Finch can get his hands on the severely addicted Deidre's money.

This movie deals with themes that haven't been explored in popular culture, I suspect because the movie paying audience doesn't like to see their flaws so aptly displayed on screen-the selfishness of the baby-boomer generation, psychiatrist abuse, alcoholism, pill addiction (prozac anyone?), flattery and ego, pedophiles. Burroughs does an outstanding job of mixing some very dark stuff with humor. Still you'll cringe when Finch cripples his patients by matchmaking them to other dysfunctional patients and writes them another prescription. In one scene Finch encourages young Augusten to stage a suicide so that he won't have to attend school and presumably not be held accountable for Augusten's chronic ditching. Not only does Finch encourage a relationship between Augusten and Neil Bookman, but he sets his 13 year old daughter up with a violent 41 year old man who breaks her collar bone. Finch extorts $75,000 from the man telling him it is for his daughter's college fund, spending the money as soon as it is in his hands. Your skin will crawl when Finch's patients are reduced to communicating with the limited language and trite emotion of his psychobabble. And you'll shake your head watching Deidre run through one 70's fad after another trying to "find herself" and "tap into her unconscious creative mind". But you'll love the way these patterns of abuse unfold, like when Deidre begins an interpretive dance while hallucinating it is snowing in her bedroom before a candle wax laden mantle cum buddah shrine. All elements of film work together perfectly in this movie-settings, props, acting. It's wonderful. After seeing this movie you will have no doubt that the self-absorbed, do as you please, divorce is better for kids, free to be you and me mantra was the B.S. of the 1960's and 1970's.

Benning shines in her role of tortured and oppressed-only in her own mind-Deidre. I watched this movie twice in a row just to see Benning's facial expressions. Alec Baldwin is entirely sympathetic and wonderful as the Dad trying to do the right thing, even when he hangs up on his son. Jill Clayburgh (Finch's wife) is complicated, abused, and astute all at once. Natalie (Evelyn Rachel Wood) is great as one of Finch's daughters and her part is so well written that even in her very last scene we are still learning that her bravado and indifference is a cover-up for some very deep pain and that her father has some sharp hooks in her. Evelyn Rachel Wood did a great job in Thirteen as well and I can't wait to see more of her. Gwenneth is good, but she delivers a little of the same performance that she did in The Royal Tenenbaums (The Criterion Collection). And you even end up loving Bookman the pediophile because Finnes is so stellar. Cross is so believable as a young Augusten-you can see both his pain and maturity and believe he could raise himself as he is left to do. Cox is great as the creepy Finch. You walk away from this movie thinking that no one else could have played these roles which in my mind means that these actors all deserve accolades.

I liked two movies this year-Little Miss Sunshine and Running With Scissors. If Running doesn't receive several academy awards I will have lost all respect for the Academy. I think the movie might fail at the awards because as I explained, the baby-boomer Academy Award voting audience is going experience pain seeing their flaws accurately displayed on screen. Some reviewers have said that this movie is like The Royal Tennebaums. Except for Gwenneth, I found the comparison lacking. Burroughs delivers a mature and poignant humor which was missing in Tennebaums. I think you'll really
love this movie.

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