Running with Scissors |
directed by Ryan Murphy
If you think your family is nuts, 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 Finches, 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 Dr. Finch's long-suffering housewife, 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, another 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!
22 September 2007