Watch Running with Scissors
Running with Scissors is a 2006 dramatic comedy film based on Augusten Burroughs' 2002 memoir of the same name. It was directed by Ryan Murphy and starred Joseph Cross, Annette Bening, Brian Cox, Alec Baldwin, Jill Clayburgh, and Joseph Fiennes. The movie follows a young boy named Augusten Burroughs (Cross) who is living in a dysfunctional family in the late 1970s. His parents, Deirdre (Bening) and Norman (Baldwin), are both struggling with mental illness and their marriage is falling apart. Deirdre is a would-be poet who is struggling to gain recognition for her work, while Norman is a mathematics professor who is having a nervous breakdown. When Augusten's parents separate, his mother decides to send him to live with her psychiatrist, Dr. Finch (Cox). Dr. Finch lives in a dilapidated Victorian house with his wife Agnes (Clayburgh), his daughters Hope (Gwyneth Paltrow) and Natalie (Evan Rachel Wood), and his adoptive son Neil Bookman (Fiennes). The Finch household is like nothing Augusten has ever seen before, and he is both fascinated and repulsed by their bizarre behavior. Dr. Finch encourages Augusten to explore his creativity, which leads him to discover his passion for writing. As Augusten spends more time with the Finches, he begins to realize just how unstable they all are. Dr. Finch is a terrible psychiatrist who takes advantage of his patients, while his wife Agnes is an alcoholic who spends most of her time in bed. Hope and Natalie are both struggling with their own mental health issues, and Neil is a violent and unstable presence in the family. Despite the dysfunction, Augusten finds a sense of belonging with the Finches, and he begins to see them as his surrogate family. However, when his mother tries to regain custody of him, Augusten is forced to confront the reality of his situation. The movie is both humorous and poignant, capturing the absurdity of the Finch household while also exploring the emotional turmoil that Augusten and his family are experiencing. The performances are outstanding, particularly Bening's portrayal of the charismatic but deeply troubled Deirdre and Cox's depiction of the manipulative Dr. Finch. Cross is also excellent in the lead role, bringing both vulnerability and resilience to Augusten's journey. Running with Scissors is a thought-provoking exploration of mental illness, creativity, and the human need for connection. It is a moving and honest depiction of a troubled family and the lasting impact of childhood trauma.