Mixed or average reviews - based on 32 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 11 out of 32
  2. Negative: 3 out of 32
Watch On
  1. 83
    The surreality is distancing, but authentic, believable performances and a low-key affect keep Running From Scissors from turning shrill.
  2. A reasonable facsimile of a perversely funny book whose odd characters are given life by a terrific cast.
  3. 75
    While Murphy never manages to make this crazy quilt dramatically credible, he does hit the mark for laughs and has written some juicy scenes for his excellent cast.
  4. Reviewed by: Kate Taylor
    Wears a deep and sophisticated shade of black and is also very, very sad.
  5. Reviewed by: Rob Nelson
    Like the book, this deadpan celebration of neurosis makes a valiant effort to repress its comedy--which of course makes it funnier.
  6. 70
    Ms. Bening's precise, pitiless tracing of her character's decline from feisty defiance to pathetic, overmedicated self-delusion gives the film an emotional weight it might not otherwise have.
  7. Reviewed by: Dana Stevens
    By turns cruel, self-pitying, and mordantly witty, Bening makes living with a delusional psychotic seem like the adventure of a lifetime.
  8. Ryan Murphy’s jaunty screen version of Running With Scissors proves that nothing consecrates one's depiction of a narcissistic mother like having her embodied by Annette Bening. Bening's specialties are (a) insane people and (b) actresses.
  9. Reviewed by: Ken Fox
    The movie winds up becoming "The Annette Bening Show," and she's quite good: Bening makes the most of a string of mad scenes for which any actress would kill, and the real pain she brings to the part grounds the film in something real.
  10. 63
    Too much manic energy runs the movie off the rails.
  11. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    There's grace here if the movie were willing to dig for it. Occasionally it does.
  12. Too outlandish to be fully convincing, this adaptation of the best-selling memoir sacrifices subtlety for broad laughs.
  13. This dame is as sick as a sick dog on a hot day, if still always perversely amusing, and the story is constructed as a survivor's ordeal, not a colorful picaresque.
  14. 58
    From the moment he enters the picture, Baldwin looks good and sick of the whole scene. Unless you're in the mood for dysfunctional-family vaudeville, it won't take long for you to catch up with him.
  15. 58
    The hearty performances are undone by the forced eccentricity of the sets, the clothes, the music and, especially, the characters. The film is ugly and facile and childish in its love of its own naughtiness. Only Jill Clayburgh, as a creepy woman in whose home Augusten must live, feels human. The rest is no more real than a "Simpsons" episode -- and offers fewer laughs.
  16. Reviewed by: Justin Chang
    Writer-director Ryan Murphy strives mightily to capture the bracing hilarity, pathos and surreal incident of Burroughs' bestselling memoir, but this rudderless adaptation never gets a firm grip on the author's deadpan tone or episodic narrative style.
  17. Watching Running With Scissors the movie instead of reading Running With Scissors the best-selling memoir by Augusten Burroughs is like running with a spatula, or maybe some weird toast tongs.
  18. Reviewed by: Joanne Kaufman
    Ms. Bening takes her part and acts it all over the place, while Ms. Paltrow and Ms. Wood do their best theater of the absurd. It is left to Ms. Clayburgh, in a performance free of vanity and artifice, to find the movie's heart.
  19. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    Running With Scissors lacks the edge of Augusten Burroughs' best-selling memoir. The result is an inconsistent tragicomedy that attempts to be cut from the same darkly humorous cloth as "American Beauty," but fails.
  20. A wildly erratic, often annoying but never boring endeavor.
  21. 50
    Baldwin brings so much lumbering weariness to his role that we can't help feeling something for his character
  22. 50
    Murphy doesn't have much of a handle on juggling laughs with pathos, and this makes some of the more touching scenes unintentionally amusing. The film, like Augusten's life, is uneven but not without its charms.
  23. 50
    While the attentive art direction of Running With Scissors pays scrupulous and imaginative attention to period detail, the film overlooks its greatest asset: Burroughs.
  24. Alas, something happened on the book-to-screen operating table: Yes, Running With Scissors is rich, twisted, insane, mordant and ridiculous, but it is not funny. Not at all.
  25. In the end, there's also something distinctly distasteful about a movie in which the central figure casts himself as noble martyr while character-assassinating his parents.
  26. 40
    One expects neither subtlety nor surprise from a scenario boasting a household pet named Freud. If there's any reason at all to see Running With Scissors, it' Bening.
  27. Murphy, who created the creepy, funny, lunatic "Nip/Tuck," is a master of mordant and macabre camp. But here he loses his teeth, seeming to lack any ironic distance from material that practically begs for it.
  28. 40
    I'm not entirely sure, but near as I can tell, this adaptation of Augusten Burroughs' memoir of family dysfunction finally and irrevocably lost me right about where the cat ended up in the stew pot, stirred with maniacally morose glee by Paltrow.
  29. Reviewed by: Will Lawrence
    Well-acted by the superb ensemble cast but there just isn't a likeable character amongst them to care about.
  30. Reviewed by: Glenn Kenny
    For the most part, Murphy is pitching somewhere between "American Beauty" and "The Royal Tenenbaums"; indeed, the characters Bening and Gwyneth Paltrow play in Scissors are, in a sense, inversions of their roles in Beauty and Tenenbaums, respectively.
  31. Murphy seems either incapable of or uninterested in creating a recognizable world, so local comic effects count for everything.
  32. Laughing at the freaks and then feeling bad about it is the sole reason for the existence of this pale little film.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 63 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 15 out of 28
  2. Negative: 5 out of 28
  1. Aug 7, 2013
    People who don't deal with mental illness or dysfunctional family members will not be able to relate to this movie. They just won't understandPeople who don't deal with mental illness or dysfunctional family members will not be able to relate to this movie. They just won't understand the emotions and thoughts a person would go through. I found the book to be far superior than the movie, but having said that it was still worth watching, I thought the actors did a great job portraying such flawed colourful characters. Also I don't see how in any way this could be classified as a comedy, this is a serious film portraying serious issues. Full Review »
  2. Feb 23, 2013
    Running With Scissors is the true story of Augusten Burroughs childhood, one that he himself admits is so far out there, that no one willRunning With Scissors is the true story of Augusten Burroughs childhood, one that he himself admits is so far out there, that no one will believe it. He's right, the story is way out there, and it's very hard to believe that all this went on for years unnoticed. Augusten's mom is mentally ill and eventually signs his custody over to her psychologist. He and his wife live in a mess of a house, with 3 other kids, none of whom are their own, and all of whom are mentally ill. The ironic part to the whole thing is that the doctor who is supposed to help everyone seems to be more ill than anyone else. Joseph Cross is great as Augusten, and Brian Cox is hilarious as Dr. Finch. It seems as thou Cox is in everything, and he always gets those hysterical random lines. Annette Bening however steals the show. The movie was weird, the story is weird, and outside of the funny and psychotic parts, I was kind of bored. This movie wasn't great, Bening however was amazing. It's too bad this movie was so far out there and so far under the radar, because I truly believe she was Oscar worthy in this role. The story is unique, the movie isn't very good, but the acting is top notch. Running With Scissors is worth seeing if for nothing else but the outstanding performances of its cast. Full Review »
  3. Jun 13, 2011
    When you compare the movie to the book it falls very short. If you take the movie just as a movie its slightly better but still has a ton ofWhen you compare the movie to the book it falls very short. If you take the movie just as a movie its slightly better but still has a ton of problems. The biggest being that it struggles to develop all its characters and it jumps around a whole bunch. The jumping around issue is mostly caused by the fact the movie is based on a book that is a series of essays that cover many years. The movie attempts to remedy this by just crunching them all together and having them occur over what seems like maybe a year probably less. The thing that makes the movie a little better is the acting. The cast takes a very bad script and makes it slightly better. Full Review »