[Screen It]

 

"RUNNING WITH SCISSORS"
(2006) (Joseph Cross, Annette Bening) (R)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Moderate Mild Heavy Mild *Minor
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Moderate None Minor None Extreme
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Heavy Extreme Extreme Heavy Moderate


QUICK TAKE:
Dramedy: A confused teen finds his life in turmoil when his emotionally unstable mother has him spend increasing amounts of time with her psychiatrist and his highly eccentric family.
PLOT:
It's 1978 and Augusten Burroughs (JOSEPH CROSS) is a confused 14-year-old living with his mentally unstable mom, Deirdre (ANNETTE BENING), who wants to be famous through her poetry, and his emotionally distant father, Norman (ALEC BALDWIN) who's growing ever more tired of his wife's endless tirades. She's started seeing a psychiatrist, Dr. Finch (BRIAN COX), whose unorthodox ways don't sit well with Norman, and thus Augusten's father eventually moves out, giving up on her and his son.

When not holding poetry meetings with the like of Fern (KRISTIN CHENOWETH) who eventually becomes one of her lovers, Deirdre spends more time seeing Dr. Cox who now holds his session at home due to tax issues. Accordingly, she drags along Augusten who's shocked to see that the psychiatrist lives in a huge, but cluttered and messy home.

He also meets the doc's wife, Agnes (JILL CLAYBURGH), who enjoys snacking on dry dog food, their older daughter Hope (GWYNETH PALTROW), who's highly religious and thinks she can read her cat's mind, and her younger sister Natalie (EVAN RACHEL WOOD), a disillusioned rebel who takes a liking to Augusten. However, when the teen informs her that he's gay, she sets him up with her adoptive, 35-year-old, schizophrenic brother Neil Bookman (JOSEPH FIENNES).

As he watches his mom slip further into mental instability as well as Dr. Finch's domineering care, Augusten must deal with his new surroundings and the collection of eccentric personalities that are now entrenched into his life.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
Older teens might be intrigued by it, and fans of anyone in the cast might be interested, but other than that, it doesn't seem too likely.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: R
For strong language and elements of sexuality, violence and substance abuse.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • JOSEPH CROSS plays a confused teenager who finds his life turned upside down when his parents split, his mother becomes increasingly mentally unstable, and he ends up living with Dr. Finch and his eccentric family. Knowing he's gay, he has a fling with Neil, when not hanging out with Natalie, smoking and using some profanity.
  • ANNETTE BENING plays Augusten's mentally unstable mother who thinks she's supposed to be famous, but has so far been unable to attain that through her poetry. She smokes, uses profanity, ends her marriage to Norman, has several mental breakdowns, and presumably is sexually involved with Dr. Finch.
  • BRIAN COX plays Deirdre's scatological obsessed psychiatrist who tries to help her and her marriage, but lives in an extremely messy and completely dysfunctional home where he enables his family's various eccentricities. It's presumed he has some sort of sexual involvement with Deirdre.
  • JILL CLAYBURGH plays Finch's long-suffering and somewhat odd wife who takes a liking to Augusten and enjoys snacking on dry dog food.
  • EVAN RACHEL WOOD plays Dr. Finch's adoptive teenage daughter who's something of a rebel but can't do much about it, thus giving her a sarcastic and devil-may-care, but homebound attitude. She smokes and uses profanity.
  • JOSEPH FIENNES plays her older, seemingly schizophrenic brother who has a homosexual affair with Augusten despite him only being a teen. He smokes, uses profanity, and is otherwise deeply troubled, harboring violent thoughts and desires toward his father.
  • GWYNETH PALTROW plays Dr. Finch's very religious daughter who uses some profanity and think she can communicate with her cat.
  • ALEC BALDWIN plays Deirdre's alcoholic husband who isn't much of a father to Augusten. He uses some strong profanity.
  • KRISTIN CHENOWETH plays a woman in Deirdre's poetry group who ends up having a lesbian affair with her.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.


    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).


    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    Here's a brief summary of the content found in this R-rated dramedy. Profanity consists of at least 24 "f" words, while other expletives and colorful phrases are also uttered. Sexually related dialogue is present, while a 14-year-old boy (turning 15) has a homosexual fling with a 35-year man (we see them right after they're done), while the boy's mother has several lesbian lovers (we see her making out with one), and a teenage girl is seen in skimpy and/or revealing attire.

    All sorts of tense family material, and related and other thematic elements are present, as are various bad attitudes. Characters drink and/or smoke, and some behavior may be enticing for some kids to imitate. An adult son tries to strangle and later prepares to stab his father with scissors, while a man bangs his head and knocks himself out (with slightly bloody results). Some crude humor and scatological material are also present.

    Should you still be concerned about the film's appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home, you may want to look more closely at our detailed listings for more specific information regarding the film's content.

    For those prone to visually induced motion sickness, there's a little bit of bouncy camerawork in the film.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • Norman has a drink.
  • Norman has a drink in another scene.
  • Deirdre tells Dr. Finch that Norman is passed out drunk.
  • Dr. Finch gives Deirdre valium.
  • Deirdre appears to be drugged (by Dr. Finch, possibly to take sexual advantage of her at a motel where he takes her for several days).
  • Norman has a drink.
  • Agnes warns Natalie that she better not be engaging in pot smoking, prompting Natalie to reply, "Shut up, you old hag."
  • After they've had sex of some sort, Neil asks Augusten if he wants a beer or smoke, and we then see Neil with a drink.
  • Deirdre has wine.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • Deirdre and Norman argue loudly in front of teenage Augusten, with Norman charging at her in the kitchen, but he hits his head on the cabinets, knocking himself to the floor where his head is slightly bloody and Deirdre briefly thinks he's dead (but he's not).
  • Crude material includes the following:
  • There to help Deirdre and her marriage, Dr. Finch first asks her to tell him about her bowel movements. She's taken aback by this as he questions the regularity and consistency, wondering if she's constipated (stuck) in her life.
  • As Norman drives, Deirdre says she smells manure and then adds that it's coming out of his ears.
  • A boy in Dr. Finch's home announces that he's just "pooped."
  • We see Augusten vomit into a tube as his stomach is pumped in a hospital after a staged suicide attempt on his part.
  • Hope states (joking or not) that her dead cat communicated to her, so she dug it up, cooked it, and has now just fed it to Natalie in some soup or stew.
  • Neil reads a poem he's written, with a line about a woman not bleeding like a normal woman, between the legs.
  • Dr. Finch calls for everyone to come join him in the bathroom where they look at his latest bowel movement (we don't see it). He says that due to a curled end, it's a direct communication from the Holy Father. He then tells Agnes to remove it from the toilet.
  • Augusten writes about lying on a bed with pee stains on it.
  • Neil's knuckles are a little bloody after punching through a door's glass panel.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • We see a flashback to when Deirdre kept Augusten out of school just for fun.
  • Deirdre has a bad attitude toward her husband Norman and that eventually flows back to her.
  • Deirdre is brutally honest with (some may say mean to) Fern in analyzing her poetry.
  • Natalie asks Augusten, "Are you retarded?"
  • Deirdre appears to be drugged (by Dr. Finch, possibly to take sexual advantage of her at a motel where he takes her for several days).
  • Realizing he's trapped at Dr. Finch's house full of eccentrics, Augusten makes an emergency collect call to his father, but Norman doesn't accept it and hangs up.
  • Some viewers might not like Hope using the Bible like a "magic 8-ball" to get answers to her and others' questions.
  • In front of Natalie, Dr. Finch tells Hope that she's his favorite daughter.
  • Hope and Natalie exchange verbal blows, including, "You're so oral you'll never be anal" and "Your dried-out c*nt," with Dr. Finch applauding one for changing her symbolism.
  • Agnes warns Natalie that she better not be engaging in pot smoking, prompting Natalie to reply, "Shut up, you old hag."
  • We see the burial of Hope's cat, with Augusten saying it was probably the result of her keeping it in a cage for four days with no food or water.
  • Neil, who's much older than Augusten (in his 30s), has sex with the underage teen (who's 14 and then turns 15).
  • Deirdre talks of having a black nanny in the past being called a "nigger" (not by her).
  • Based on his upbringing of previously doing the same, Augusten always wants to skip school.
  • Deirdre informs Augusten that Dr. Finch will be adopting him, thus causing Augusten much distress.
  • Dr. Finch tells Augusten he should stage a fake suicide attempt, asking where his sense of adventure is when the teen refuses (but we later see he's done just that).
  • Natalie comments on some guy she was in love with in the past (when she was a young teen) who broke her collarbone.
  • Neil grabs Dr. Finch by the throat, but Dr. Finch manages to diffuse the situation and get Neil to let go. Later, he prepares to stab his father with scissors, but is interrupted before doing so.
  • A person jokes to another (about scratching their head) that they look like they have Downs Syndrome (and others laugh about that comment).
  • Neil sarcastically asks Hope, "When's the last time you had anything in your tw*t besides a tampon?"
  • Hope states (joking or not) that her dead cat communicated to her, so she dug it up, cooked it, and has now just fed it to Natalie in some soup or stew.
  • Some viewers might not like mental illness played for comedy, or the use of terms such as "looney bin" and "retarded."
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • Deirdre and Norman argue loudly in front of teenage Augusten, with Norman charging at her in the kitchen, but he hits his head on the cabinets, knocking himself to the floor where his head is slightly bloody and Deirdre briefly thinks he's dead (but he's not).
  • There's a tiny bit of suspenseful music and a brief shot of a vampire as the old soap opera "Dark Shadows" plays on TV.
  • Natalie prepares to give Augusten a jolt from an old electroshock therapy machine (saying it will be a blast), but that doesn't occur (although it gets close with Augusten wearing the headgear and mouth guard, and Natalie reaching for the plug, etc.).
  • Natalie goes to light a cigarette using the kitchen stove gas burner, but accidentally catches the end of her hair on fire (that she quickly puts out).
  • Following a mental breakdown, we see Deirdre strapped down and a needle inserted into her arm.
  • Neil punches his fist through a glass panel in a door to break in, grabs some scissors, goes up the stairs to his father's room, and raises the scissors above the sleeping man. Agnes interrupts him, however, and nothing happens.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • Neil grabs a pair of scissors as if he's going to use them to stab his father, but he's interrupted before he gets the chance to do so.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "F*cking bitch," "This is really f*cking bullsh*t," "F*cked up," "F*ck that," "F*ck you (kiss ass)," "I'm a f*ck-up," "That's the f*cking truth," "You f*cking lunatic," "You need a bone up your f*cking ass," "What the f*ck have you been up to?" "Where the f*ck are you?" "Bullsh*t," "It's sh*t," "You scared the sh*t out of me," "Holy sh*t," "I'm not going to be some c*nt-licking nurse," "When's the last time you had anything in your tw*t besides a tampon?" "Shut up, you c*nt," "Get the rage on the page," "You poor bastard," "I wish you'd rot in hell," "I smell manure. It's coming out of your ears," "It will be a wicked blast," "Are you retarded?" "Looney bin," "Shut up, you old hag," "Nigger" (not said directly to a person), "Bitch," "Turd," "What the hell is going on?" and "Don't pull that maternal crap with me."
  • We see young Augusten putting various pieces of tinfoil on the pet dog (that doesn't seem to mind).
  • We see Augusten boiling and then polishing his quarters, saying he likes shiny things.
  • Agnes eats dry dog food as a snack.
  • Natalie prepares to give Augusten a jolt from an old electroshock therapy machine (saying it will be a blast), but that doesn't occur (although it gets close with Augusten wearing the headgear and mouth guard, and Natalie reaching for the plug, etc.).
  • Natalie wears various midriff-revealing tops.
  • Dr. Finch tells Augusten he should stage a fake suicide attempt, asking where his sense of adventure is when the teen refuses (but we later see he's done just that).
  • We see Augusten and Natalie breaking a hole in the kitchen ceiling (to open up the space) and Dr. Finch isn't upset about that when he discovers what they've done.
  • JUMP SCENES
  • None.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • A tiny bit of suspenseful music plays in the film.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 24 "f" words, 16 "s" words, 1 slang term for sex ("do it"), 5 using female genitals ("c*nt," "p*ssy," "tw*t"), 2 asses, 1 crap, 1 damn, 1 hell, 5 uses each of "G-damn" and "Oh my God," 2 of "God," and 1 use each of "For Christ's sakes," "Holy Mother of God," "Jesus," "Jesus Christ" and "Oh God."
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • Dr. Finch asks Deirdre if she has sex with Norman, she says yes, and he asks if she enjoys it (she shakes her head no). He then asks if she has suicidal thoughts, she says yes, he asks how often, and she replies, "After I have sex with my husband."
  • During a therapy session, Augusten questions where a certain door leads, and Dr. Finch matter-of-factly says it's to an adjacent room "where I masturbate." He then adds that while he's a professional, he's still a man, and then asks Augusten and Deirdre if they want to see the room. They then go in and find Hope there, with Dr. Finch complaining that she's in his "masturbatorium."
  • We see Natalie in a bra or bikini top and small shorts.
  • Natalie asks Augusten, "Are you ready?" He asks for what, she says to play doctor, but then adds, "I'm not going to be some c*nt-licking nurse."
  • Natalie wears a jacket or some sort of top that covers her bra or bikini top, and we see her bare midriff.
  • Deirdre appears to be drugged (by Dr. Finch, possibly to take sexual advantage of her at a motel where he takes her for several days).
  • Hope and Natalie exchange verbal blows, including, "You're so oral you'll never be anal" and "Your dried-out c*nt," with Dr. Finch applauding one for moving from oral to phallic symbolism.
  • We see Natalie in another short skirt.
  • Augusten tells Natalie that he's gay, with her saying he should then meet her adopted brother who's also gay. Later, we see Augusten out with Neil who initially doesn't realize the teen is gay. Even later, we see Augusten fall back to a bed out of breath and wipe his mouth, with Neil then joining him by his side (a torso and up shot), with Neil saying that's what gay men do and that he wanted to show Augusten what he was in for as a gay male. We see Augusten shirtless and Neil in his underwear and a tank-top.
  • Augusten walks in on his mom and Fern passionately kissing (both are clothed) and he's upset about that.
  • We see Augusten and Neil in bed, shirtless, but just talking.
  • We see a head and shoulders shot of Deirdre in a tub (so nothing explicit is seen).
  • We hear Neil asking Augusten, "Why can't we do it?" (presumably referring to sex).
  • Agnes tells Deirdre that she wants her to stop seeing her husband (Dr. Finch, presumably implying something sexual has been occurring).
  • A comment is made about Deirdre's new girlfriend having a trust fund after her father showed her his penis in a rowboat (sometime in the past).
  • Neil sarcastically asks Hope, "When's the last time you had anything in your tw*t besides a tampon?"
  • Neil states (being gay) that he doesn't "eat p*ssy."
  • We see that Deirdre now apparently has a new lesbian lover.
  • Augusten states that he wants boundaries, because life is otherwise just a bunch of surprises. He then says he wants to be grounded for sleeping with a 35-year-old schizophrenic.
  • A person is told, "You need a bone up your f*cking ass."
  • We see some miscellaneous cleavage.
  • SMOKING
  • Deirdre smokes around 10 times, Augusten, Natalie, Norman, and Neil each smoke several times, and Dr. Finch (pipe) smokes at least once.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • We hear Augusten's voice-over narration commenting on when his mother left him (meaning mentally) and he left her.
  • About him being late getting home, Deirdre accuses Norman of trying to sabotage her (regarding her poetry).
  • Fern states that her husband takes her for granted.
  • Deirdre and Norman argue loudly in front of teenage Augusten, with Norman charging at her in the kitchen, but he hits his head on the cabinets, knocking himself to the floor where his head is slightly bloody and Deirdre briefly thinks he's dead. When he comes to, Augusten angrily questions why they can't just be a normal family, and Deirdre tells Norman that he's suffocating her (emotionally).
  • As Norman drives, Deirdre says she smells manure and then adds that it's coming out of his ears.
  • Deirdre and Norman meet with Dr. Finch in a marriage therapy session (where she says she failed as a wife and mother), but Norman balks at Dr. Finch saying they need to meet for five hours a day. We later see Augusten joining his mother in another meeting with Dr. Finch.
  • We see that Norman is moving out.
  • Dr. Finch tells Augusten, "Your father may want to murder your mother." He then says that Deirdre needs to be protected and thus he's going to take her to a motel for several days.
  • Realizing he's trapped at Dr. Finch's house full of eccentrics, Augusten makes an emergency collect call to his father, but Norman doesn't accept it and hangs up.
  • In front of Natalie, Dr. Finch tells Hope that she's his favorite daughter.
  • Hope and Natalie exchange verbal blows, including, "You're so oral you'll never be anal" and "Your dried-out c*nt."
  • Deirdre informs Augusten that Dr. Finch will be adopting him, thus causing Augusten much distress.
  • Deirdre worries about Augusten when she rushes to the hospital after his staged suicide attempt.
  • We see Neil thrashing stuff in an office while mad at Dr. Finch.
  • Agnes tells Deirdre that she wants her to stop seeing her husband (Dr. Finch, presumably implying something sexual has been occurring).
  • Neil grabs Dr. Finch by the throat, but Dr. Finch manages to diffuse the situation and get Neil to let go.
  • Augusten cries over seeing his mother's obvious mental breakdown.
  • Neil punches his fist through a glass panel in a door to break in, grabs some scissors, goes up the stairs to his father's room, and raises the scissors above the sleeping man. Agnes interrupts him, however, and nothing happens.
  • Just 15, Augusten says goodbye to his mother as he's moving out for good.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • Dysfunctional families and divorce.
  • Mental illness.
  • Eccentric people.
  • Psychiatry.
  • Homosexuality.
  • Referring to herself, Deirdre tells Augusten, "Your mother was meant to be a very famous person."
  • Augusten stating that he's like his mom: Oddly special and he wants to be famous.
  • Deirdre tells Fern to funnel her rage into her writing: "Get the rage on the page."
  • Natalie stating, "I'm a Finch. I'm used goods."
  • Deirdre talks of having a black nanny in the past being called a "nigger" (not by her).
  • Deirdre talks of always being oppressed in her life.
  • Agnes stating that dreams are what get you through the hard times.
  • Natalie says that she hates her life.
  • The IRS visits Dr. Finch and we hear that they'll take his house in six weeks if he can't pay them.
  • Augusten states that he wants boundaries, because life is otherwise just a bunch of surprises. He then says he wants to be grounded for sleeping with a 35-year-old schizophrenic.
  • VIOLENCE
  • Deirdre and Norman argue loudly in front of teenage Augusten, with Norman charging at her in the kitchen, but he hits his head on the cabinets, knocking himself to the floor where his head is slightly bloody and Deirdre briefly thinks he's dead (but he's not).
  • Agnes knocks a housecat off a table in the house.
  • We see the burial of Hope's cat, with Augusten saying it was probably the result of her keeping it in a cage for four days with no food or water.
  • We see Neil thrashing stuff in an office while mad at Dr. Finch.
  • Neil then grabs Dr. Finch by the throat, but Dr. Finch manages to diffuse the situation and get Neil to let go.
  • Deirdre throws water into Norman's face at a restaurant.
  • Neil punches his fist through a glass panel in a door to break in, grabs some scissors, goes up the stairs to his father's room, and raises the scissors above the sleeping man. Agnes interrupts him, however, and nothing happens.



  • Reviewed October 3, 2006 / Posted October 27, 2006

    Other new and recent reviews include:

    [Darkest Hour] [Just Getting Started] [The Shape of Water]

    Privacy Statement and Terms of Use and Disclaimer
    By entering this site you acknowledge to having read and agreed to the above conditions.

    All Rights Reserved,
    ©1996-2017 Screen It, Inc.