User Score
6.1

Generally favorable reviews- based on 63 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 35 out of 63
  2. Negative: 16 out of 63
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  1. JohnY.
    Oct 17, 2006
    4
    A painful experience, akin to being stuck in a box with a group of annoying loonies.
  2. EC
    Nov 10, 2006
    5
    Very slow, very depressing, and not a lot of story.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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
  6. 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
  7. [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.
  8. 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
  9. 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
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.