March 27, 2007

Running with Scissors

"Running with Scissors" is an amazing, crazy film about an amazing young man named Augusten Burroughs, who grows up surrounded by crazy people in crazy circumstances.

Augusten is played with great directness and sincerity by Joseph Cross.

As a young teen, we see Augusten survive the apathy of an alcoholic, absentee father and the delusions of his self-absorbed, implosive (and possibly manic-depressive?) mother, a struggling and frustrated writer.

As an adult, Burroughs turned his heart breaking and witty observations into a novel and then a feature film. In the film, Annette Benning is mesmerizing and somewhat haunting as Augusten's mother, Deirdre. I watched with a mixture of shock and sympathy as she started out as an egocentric, frustrated writer, certain that the publishing world would soon discover her artistic genius, to a defiant and fragile single parent who jettisons Augusten, adopting him out to the quack psychiatrist who has her on a bathroom cupboard full of prescription drugs.

I felt Augusten's love and sympathy for her, as well as his fear and uncertainty - the trap of loving someone who's erratic moods and unpredictable circumstances continually affects your life.

Augusten says it all when he tells himself that he wished that his life had structure and rules, "because without that, every day is a surprise".

Profile of Augusten Burroughs - Washington Post

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