Thursday, November 16, 2006

Running With Scissors

Despite the pedigree cast and terrific acting, "Scissors" doesn't cut it. The film is based on the true memoirs of Augusten Burroughs. Burrough's book was apparently very popular but having not read it, I was drawn to the film by the cast and not the story. Luckily the acting rises above the plot and keeps you interested.

As a teen, Augusten is sent to live with his mother's shrink and his family. Having difficulty enough adjusting to his parent's divorce and his metal unstable mother, Augusten must now reside with the family that puts the D in dysfunctional. The Finch family is played by Brian Cox, as Dr. Finch, Jill Clayburgh as his wife, and Gwyneth Paltrow and Evan Rachel Wood as their daughters. While all do an outstanding job, Jill Clayburgh is just wonderful as the long suffering repressed wife and mother. She deserves an best supporting actress nomination at Oscar time.

All of these characters are damaged goods. Repressed, depressed, confused and somewhat psychotic, it is not a happy picture. If not for the acting, watching these characters for two hours would just be painful. But the saving grace of them all is Annette Bening as Deirdre Burroughs, a leading role with Oscar nomination written all over it. Ms. Bening is just terrific in a difficult role as a mother with delusions of grandeur coupled with intense mental anguish. Joseph Cross plays Augusten and holds his own among all these top notch actors. His scenes with Bening are heartbreaking and true. Alex Baldwin plays the small but important role of Augusten's father, downplaying his usual bombastic character and showing some real depth.

This one gets an A for acting but a D for a depressing story.

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