Running with Scissors

User Score
6.1

Generally favorable reviews- based on 64 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 34 out of 64
  2. Negative: 16 out of 64

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User Reviews

  1. ScottS
    Dec 4, 2008
    2
    Burroughs is one sparky author, and deserved much better. I forced myself to consume this unappetising mess in four sittings. When Gwyneth Paltrow's performance and the set design are the two best things going for a film, you know you are onto a loser. The male lead was absolutely insipid.
  2. JohnY.
    Oct 17, 2006
    4
    A painful experience, akin to being stuck in a box with a group of annoying loonies.
  3. JackC.
    Oct 28, 2006
    1
    Wallows in its own pretension and tries to make a story of cardboard cutouts into meaningful art. Emotional complexity and directorial merit are left as afterthoughts: instead, this movie shows the viewer a cadre of crazies and rests on its laurels contentedly, bringing neither style nor substance to the table. Burroughs must feel downright insulted at this perversion of his memoir. Some Wallows in its own pretension and tries to make a story of cardboard cutouts into meaningful art. Emotional complexity and directorial merit are left as afterthoughts: instead, this movie shows the viewer a cadre of crazies and rests on its laurels contentedly, bringing neither style nor substance to the table. Burroughs must feel downright insulted at this perversion of his memoir. Some saving graces... Evan Rachel Wood gave a performance that managed to have more than one dimension (and was smoking hot while she was doing it). Other than that, I can't see where the art is. People in the theatre were laughing at this serious movie all throughout its too-long running time, and I can't blame them. Absurdism for the sake of absurdism has no artistic value... and that's exactly the calling card of Running with Scissors. Expand
  4. SteveS.
    Feb 26, 2007
    0
    Terrible, over-rated movie like American Beauty. Directionless, pointless, with the therapist being the worst of all roles.
  5. DavidS
    Oct 17, 2006
    2
    Director Ryan Murphy made a tragic mistake of just trying to get Bening an Oscar then developing the main characters essential role... typical with a very affected new coming Hollywood director...
  6. JoeC
    Oct 28, 2006
    1
    I had decent expectations for the movie based on the book and cast, but it turned out to be uninteresting and overly strange. I wasn't moved let alone entertained.
  7. TonyB.
    Feb 9, 2007
    7
    This is one of those movies I found to be way underrated. The acting in this movie was definitely top notch however I do agree you don't really care about the characters and I definitely wasn't moved by the film in anyway. It was still an entertaining movie with strong acting definitely worth a viewing and a much higher review. Though it definitely doesn't stand up to the This is one of those movies I found to be way underrated. The acting in this movie was definitely top notch however I do agree you don't really care about the characters and I definitely wasn't moved by the film in anyway. It was still an entertaining movie with strong acting definitely worth a viewing and a much higher review. Though it definitely doesn't stand up to the other films in this genre such as The Royal Tenenbaums. Expand
  8. EC
    Nov 10, 2006
    5
    Very slow, very depressing, and not a lot of story.
  9. AbbyR
    Oct 20, 2006
    10
    "Where would we be without our painful childhoods?" A strong case of innocence lost, Running with Scissors will leave an imprint on you and remind you of your own dysfunctional family. Hopefully in this case you will reminisce and laugh. Whether you like it or love it, miss this film and risk being the only one who didn't see it.
  10. ChadS.
    May 1, 2007
    7
    There's nothing wrong with the cast of "Running with Scissors"; every character, no matter how eccentric, maudlin, or downright improbable(while not entirely believable, especially Dr. Finch) are indeed colorful and definitely not boring, two essentials for a successful comedy. Is Deidre Burroughs(Annette Bening) estranged from her son(Joseph Cross) because he lied about her being a There's nothing wrong with the cast of "Running with Scissors"; every character, no matter how eccentric, maudlin, or downright improbable(while not entirely believable, especially Dr. Finch) are indeed colorful and definitely not boring, two essentials for a successful comedy. Is Deidre Burroughs(Annette Bening) estranged from her son(Joseph Cross) because he lied about her being a bad mother, or that he aired their dirty laundry for all the world to see? We despise her. We mock her, too. But if Deidre was, say, Anne Waldman(you should read "Marriage: A Sentence"), would we hate her less for handing over Augusten to her shrink(Brian Cox)? Despite his bad childhood, it's sort of cruel to expose his mother as a literary lightweight; writing being such a personal and vulnerable act, akin to moving your bowels in the nude(if you're bad), and Burroughs leaves the bathroom door wide open. In spite of the author's willingness to humiliate his mom(who to be fair, was brainwashed by a quack), "Running with Scissors" is on occasion, riotously funny, and has a sneaky way of wriggling its way into your heart(thanks to Jill Clayburgh). Expand
  11. MissyB.
    Feb 24, 2008
    10
    I realize that all books and films are open to the cruelest of critisism, but it is worse by far for a Memoir to be judged as they are. As if they are simply a fictional story which we are to rate for entertainment value. Worse, still are comments from over sensitives that nit-picked the uncomfortable sexual 'gay sex' lessons given Augusten by Bookman. I have read how I realize that all books and films are open to the cruelest of critisism, but it is worse by far for a Memoir to be judged as they are. As if they are simply a fictional story which we are to rate for entertainment value. Worse, still are comments from over sensitives that nit-picked the uncomfortable sexual 'gay sex' lessons given Augusten by Bookman. I have read how 'disgusting, horrible, offensive, trashy' those particular scenes were. Pardon, they are MEANT to be! This is the story of this man's childhood, not the dirty little paragraphs written for shock value, and to offend as many as possible. It's not entertaining enough? Are you serious? Nevermind that it IS amazing Nd beautifully adapted, it, again, is non-fiction. Are we really that arrogant now that we feel OWED by a man opening his past pain? He should make us laugh MORE, he should downplay the extent to which Bookman abused him because it may cause some to be 'uncomfortable'? As I said, it SHOULD make us queasy, but it should also amaze us that Augusten escaped with his sanity. And I for one happen to have the same twisted sense of humorbecause of and in spite of the terrible childhood that I myself had. Perhaps those who were lucky enough to be raised by Ward and June Cleaver can sit up high enough above the rest of us and judge our abuses as literary trash, but I would have advice for them: slide right by the best-sellers and locate the 'un-trashy" romance "novels" with the rippling muscle man tossing around the tight bodice wearing, helpless maiden, enjoy a 'buy two, get one FREE!' offer and, with your herbal tea, escape your reality for the 45 minutes it would take to read such 'high end literature'. Expand
  12. EBB
    Oct 20, 2006
    9
    It truly affected me. WOW!
  13. MichaelL.
    Dec 8, 2006
    8
    At first, I didn't much like this film. I love the book, and felt--and maybe still feel--the material doesn't translate to film. While the book offered a glimmer of hope amid the crazed dysfunction, the film seemed merely sad. However, by film's end, I was a believer, and I'm not sure why. I found myself moved almost against my will. Bening (and I'm not a huge At first, I didn't much like this film. I love the book, and felt--and maybe still feel--the material doesn't translate to film. While the book offered a glimmer of hope amid the crazed dysfunction, the film seemed merely sad. However, by film's end, I was a believer, and I'm not sure why. I found myself moved almost against my will. Bening (and I'm not a huge fan) is superb, as is Jill Clayburg. Wood is wonderful, and Brian Cox turns in yet another underrated, pitch-perfect performance. I recommend it--just realize it pales in comparrison to Augusten Borrough's book. Expand
  14. BillyS.
    Oct 30, 2006
    9
    Running With Scissors is the first movie I've seen where every actor in the film deserves year-end recognition. The story itself is just a series of scenes put together to showcase the brilliant acting of the whole cast, and what a showcase it is! Joesph Cross is Augusten Burroughs, the narrator and heart of the movie, and he plays it with perfect detachment considering the people Running With Scissors is the first movie I've seen where every actor in the film deserves year-end recognition. The story itself is just a series of scenes put together to showcase the brilliant acting of the whole cast, and what a showcase it is! Joesph Cross is Augusten Burroughs, the narrator and heart of the movie, and he plays it with perfect detachment considering the people who share his world. Annette Bening is his mother whose meltdown is hysterically heartbreaking and lays claim to another Oscar nomination. Brian Cox has never been better, the same for Gwyneth Paltrow, Evan Rachel Wood, Alec Baldwin and Joseph Fiennes, who are all given award worthy screen time. But I must say, with all these performances to savor, it's none other than Jill Clayburgh who absolutely melts your heart as the "Dark Shadows" loving- Kibble eating loonie who is really the unlikely rock in Augusten's world. If she doesn't get an Oscar nomination for supporting actress there is no God. If you love great acting, this is the movie to see!! Expand
  15. timr
    Feb 4, 2009
    10
    A great story set to a great soundtrack.
  16. MichaL
    Oct 19, 2006
    10
    "Scissors" is a highly ambitious film, so stylized with music and glossy editing that even fans of unconventional cinema may be surprised since it ends with an emotional release instead of a plot driven one unlike most Hollywood films. But technical aspects do not make a movie alone, the entire cast delivers each performance with deft handling despite their character's agony. No "Scissors" is a highly ambitious film, so stylized with music and glossy editing that even fans of unconventional cinema may be surprised since it ends with an emotional release instead of a plot driven one unlike most Hollywood films. But technical aspects do not make a movie alone, the entire cast delivers each performance with deft handling despite their character's agony. No wonder there are already Oscar cries for Bening. Ryan Murphy penned a lovely though complex screenplay, and is ambitious with his directorial debut. Expand
  17. BrianF
    Oct 23, 2006
    8
    Not a flawless movie, but not a total washout. Murphy plays it a little safe, filing down the sharper edges of the memoir. There should definitely be some Oscar nominations in these performances, especially Bening and Clayburgh.
  18. HannaH.
    Jan 19, 2007
    9
    Extremely funny. A very appropriate cast for the characters depicted in the memoir. two thumbs up!
  19. NickW.
    Apr 11, 2007
    5
    This movie--unlike the book--is simply dismal. The pace is ponderous, the screenplay is dreadful, and the characters are flat. The brightest spot is Evan Rachel Woods as Natalie (Evan is drop-dead gorgeous in the mold of Christina Applegate, unlike the dumpy, unkempt Natalie in the book), who delivers a fairly convincing portrait of dysfunction and teen angst.
  20. RyanF.
    Jun 2, 2007
    4
    While the movie is quite hilarious.....as to how jacked up the characters are, I think the movie hardly follows the contents of the book as well as it should. The director should have made it more to pertaining with the Novel than his own ideas. It is a pretty big disaster for a film but.....all in all, the craziness of it just makes me laugh.
  21. kaylap.
    Oct 15, 2008
    8
    Its a brutally honest tale of oe boys adolecents to teenage experiences. and ab fab!!!
  22. RobinR
    Feb 22, 2008
    6
    This is just one of those cases where you can't help but say "the book was better." After watching the movie, I just wished there would have been more details from the reading. But one can only do so much. Nonetheless, it was still a hilarious movie. I just wonder if I would have felt the same way if I hadn't read the book first. Because it seems like the reaction from watching This is just one of those cases where you can't help but say "the book was better." After watching the movie, I just wished there would have been more details from the reading. But one can only do so much. Nonetheless, it was still a hilarious movie. I just wonder if I would have felt the same way if I hadn't read the book first. Because it seems like the reaction from watching should be like WTH. And not knowing if it came off as confusing or not doesn't help me much with writing this review. I still thought Running With Scissors was hilarious! Expand
  23. KevinM.
    Nov 22, 2006
    8
    I found this film deeply moving and tragic, while still keeping an absurdist view of the writer's circumstances. I'm perplexed by the bimodal reviews, as I found many of the performances, particularly Annete Bening's, Joseph Fienne's, Jill Clayburgh's and Evan Rachel Wood's most certainly Oscar worthy. I noted that the audience at times were laughing at the I found this film deeply moving and tragic, while still keeping an absurdist view of the writer's circumstances. I'm perplexed by the bimodal reviews, as I found many of the performances, particularly Annete Bening's, Joseph Fienne's, Jill Clayburgh's and Evan Rachel Wood's most certainly Oscar worthy. I noted that the audience at times were laughing at the screen when I felt something more tragic occurring. Perhaps this is a justification for mixed reactions. However, as oddball as the characters were, I felt they did ring true, especially through the eyes of the misfit lead, abandoned by his psychotic mother. Since I actually know people as strange as these characters, it didn't seem so unbelievable to me. In fact, this coming of age tale reminded me of American Beauty. Expand
  24. MarkB.
    Dec 15, 2006
    5
    If you want to argue that American Beauty was an overrated, superficial wet firecracker tossed at white bread suburban America, with nothing especially new or insightful to say, I might still socialize with you...but NOT if you blame Annette Bening. She gave one of the most subtle, underrated film performances of the 1990s, making the seemingly one-dimensionally neurotic, materialistic If you want to argue that American Beauty was an overrated, superficial wet firecracker tossed at white bread suburban America, with nothing especially new or insightful to say, I might still socialize with you...but NOT if you blame Annette Bening. She gave one of the most subtle, underrated film performances of the 1990s, making the seemingly one-dimensionally neurotic, materialistic upper-middle-class housewife/ real estate agent Carolyn Burnham a lonely, tragic figure worthy of our compassion rather than our derision and reminding us of the film's admionition to "look closer"; the slow disintegration of the Burnhams' marriage was just as much Lester B.'s fault as Carolyn's, and in the final image of her we see how much she truly loved him. Bening lost the Best Actress Oscar to Hilary Swank's gender-bending portrayal of Brendon Teena (Teena Brendon?) in Boys Don't Cry, and 5 years later, Bening's deliberately broad, wonderfully entertaining work as a theatrical grande dame in Being Julia was beaten by a last-minute groundswell for Swank's plucky boxer in Million Dollar Baby. In Ryan Murphy's adaptation of Augusten Burroughs' autobiography, Bening, possibly anticipating a third showdown with Swank (for The Black Dahlia?!? Fat chance!) combines BOTH performances, and the result echoes Faye Dunaway's infamous caricature of Joan Crawford in Mommie Dearest; it's awful. Sadly, this site's anonymous poster might just have nailed it when he or she sarcastically claimed that Bening might have engineered some contractual agreement to have x number of prescribed nervous breakdowns inserted into the picture; the result is a performance that, except for an early scene at a writers' club meeting where Bening's Deidre Burroughs eviscerates a fellow member, is completely superficial, monotonous and ineffective...everything her work in American Beauty was NOT. She plays young Augusten's psychotically neglectful mother who dumps her son (Joseph Cross) into the even more dysfunctional household of her psychiatrist (Brian Cox) and his more sympathetic but seriously damaged family, resulting in a textbook illustration of your choice of the cliches "out of the frying pan into the fire" or "the cure is worse than the disease". Fortunately, our protagonist finds friendship (Evan Rachel Wood) and hope (Jill Clayburgh, playing Cox's disshevelled, seemingly beaten-down wife who turns out to be less pathetic than you'd originally guess; if you don't want to hug her at the movie's abrupt but surprisingly touching finale, then let's hope the theater you're watching this in really DOES have an in-house doctor on hand to check your pulse!) Cross is a typically forgettable young lead, but the other three, though excellent, can't overcome Murphy's highly contrived, compromised approach to his tough material. He wants to make a gritty, disturbing, in-your-face independent-type movie that confronts the effects of serious mental illness on families head-on, but he keeps hedging his bets by inserting sitcom-style one-liners in the midst of his material. This occurs in scene after scene; you can almost hear the offscreen rimshots. I'm fully aware that Burroughs himself, a very funny writer, has a great gift for finding humor in the darkest recesses of personal despair (his followup book, Dry, deals with his alcoholism in much the same way); this is, of course, one of the most admirable of human abilities but in Murphy's very heavy hands it continually comes across as a series of phony, inorganic concessions to the audience. Or, to put it another way, running with scissors isn't all that bold or daring an act when you're constantly running with corks on the tips of the blades. Expand
  25. [Anonymous]
    Oct 22, 2006
    5
    One assumes Ms. Bening insisted on a requisite number of mad scenes or she wouldn't do the film. This is what happens when the filmmaker is held hostage by a star's demands.
  26. Jun 13, 2011
    5
    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 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. TheWhen 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. Expand
  27. Feb 23, 2013
    5
    Running 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 aRunning 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. Expand
  28. Aug 7, 2013
    9
    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 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'tPeople 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. Expand
Metascore
52

Mixed or average reviews - based on 32 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 11 out of 32
  2. Negative: 3 out of 32
  1. Reviewed by: Glenn Kenny
    38
    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.
  2. Too outlandish to be fully convincing, this adaptation of the best-selling memoir sacrifices subtlety for broad laughs.
  3. Reviewed by: Justin Chang
    50
    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.