Running with Scissors
What’s so crazy about a family with a Masturbatorium?

Theatrical Release Date: 10/20/2006
Director: Ryan Murphy
Cast: Joseph Cross, Evan Rachel Wood, Annette Bening, Brian Cox, Alec Baldwin, Joseph Fiennes, Gwyneth Paltrow, Gabrielle Union

Based on the book of the same name, “Running with Scissors” is a memoir of a very messed up childhood/adolescence.

This struck a chord with me, but it may not with most. I have not read the book, but if it is like the move then I’m glad I didn’t. Psychologically skewed perspectives in literature can muddle the ability to identify for me.

My impressions are that the book is something near a David Sedaris book realistically/comically with the skewed experience/vision put fourth in most Chuck Palahniuk novels.

I could be wrong, but that’s the impression I got and that’s why I think this is almost better suited as a movie for most. Having said that, it also makes it much harder to get right on screen – but this film does it better than most the more and more I think about it.

There is some great comedy in here. Most of this comedy exists in the manner of things being so surreal in a realistically based story. But the psychological intensity of the story demands powerful performances.

The performances of Joseph Cross, Even Rachel Wood, and Alec Baldwin are all very, very solid (they are the most sane people in the film).

Brian Cox is completely believable as a bat-s**t crazy therapist in the late 70′s (the time leading up to the boom in psycho-active drugs like Prozac and Ritalin).

Annette Bening is amazing in portraying the mother who has some sort of paranoid/delusional mental disorder (by far the best performance I’ve seen all year).

Joseph Feinnes made me do a double-take in how well he portrayed a mid 30′s, borderline homicidal gay man (only the second thing he’s done that I’ve liked) and Gwyneth Paltrow fits nicely in this seemingly ensemble cast.

It struck a chord with me because of minor resemblances to my life and the fact that I’ve studied, seen, and spent time with people going through a large range of temporary or permanent mental distress – and this movie hit it right on the nose in so many ways.

It’s surreal to see this portrayal, and unfortunate to realize that this actually goes on more than anyone wants to realize.

Some people may not like this, and if not it’s because:

1. They don’t want to admit that this type of thing is possible in a civilized society.
2. They can’t identify with it.
3. They can identify with it, but are in denial the fact that they can.

If you fall into these generalizations, don’t make any more effort than a Netfilx/cable showing. Otherwise I highly recommend seeing this. I’m giving it 4 stars and hope that this is considered for awards.