Young Augusten Burroughs absorbs experiences that could make for a shocking memoir: the son of an alcoholic father and an unstable mother, he's handed off to his mother's therapist, Dr. Finch, and spends his adolescent years as a member of Finch's bizarre extended family.
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The story of how a boy was abandoned by his mother and how he, later, abandoned her. The year he'll be 14, the parents of Augusten Burroughs (1965- ) divorce, and his mother, who thinks of herself as a fine poet on the verge of fame, delivers him to the eccentric household of her psychiatrist, Dr. Finch. During that year, Augusten avoids school, keeps a journal, and practices cosmetology. His mother's mental illness worsens, he takes an older lover, he finds friendship with Finch's younger daughter, and he's the occasional recipient of gifts from an unlikely benefactor. Can he survive to come of age?Written by
In one scene in which Augusten and Natalie Finch are sitting in the kitchen talking, there is an extended closeup of Natalie smoking a cigarette. The brand is unmistakably American Spirit, a brand that was not out then. See more »
This is not an awful movie nor isn't it a recommendation of mine but Augusten Burrough's life seems gypped with this rendition. Obviously, Annette Bening was glorious as the misdirected, doped, self-important woman who has been stripped of a goal in life, something she is not innocent in ruining herself. Additionally, Jill Clayburgh hits another high note as she inhabits her role as expertly as Bening. Obviously, the women shine here. In fact, none of the actors fail the film for acting chops. Unfortunately, the bent and disturbed early life of Augusten Burroughs almost seems zapped of his personal joy and awe at his wild surroundings. Augusten was inspired by these events not just a victim of them. A problem the casting had was for its main character. Joseph Cross seems miscast in that he is clearly much too old to fill his shoes. An important fact is that Augusten was a minor involved in a lopsided affair with a man much older than he. In this casting, Fiennes and Cross could have been schoolmates so the legal point of "statutory rape" seems quite lost nor is there any indication of how his strength evolved out of this relationship. Augusten's writings delve into and reveal his flamboyance and vanity as well as his apparent jubilation at having such a disturbed upbringing. Augusten in the film becomes merely a secondary character with very little interaction. It's almost not about him. As a heartbreaking dissection of how family members can cripple each other and have their dreams implode, this film soars. It might have been better as fiction but Augusten Burroughs' personality on film doesn't evolve except for some minor wardrobe changes. There's a lot more pain, destruction and crying here than any amazement at it all, a much more distinct element in Burroughs' writing. It hardly skirts how funny and clever he is on paper.
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