Tri Star Pictures
Now playing in select cinemas
When this book first rolled off the shelves, you couldn’t swing a cat on the subway cars of Manhattan without hitting a dog-eared copy being quickly devoured. Now Director/Writer/Producer, Ryan Murphy (creator of “Nip/Tuck” and “Popular”) makes easy work of bringing this story to vivid life on the screen. And what a mesmerizing cast. Joseph Cross (Wide Awake) turns out a wonderful performance as the young Augusten Burroughs in this adaptation of the memoir. Alongside him are the incomparable Annette Bening, Alec Baldwin, Brian Cox, Jill Clayburgh, Gwyneth Paltrow, Evan Rachel Wood and Joseph Fiennes. Completely ridiculous, no? Murphy has described the film as being about the universal quest for family and identity, and that is certainly evoked as our hero watches his father take to drinking, his mother lose the better part of her mind, and pretty much everyone else goes round the bend as well. Accompanied by a soundtrack that boasts the classic hits of Elton John, Manfred Mann and Nat King Cole, the film takes ample opportunities to move into music video mode and scooch the story along to some of our favorite tunes. Unfortunately, this beautifully produced and wonderfully acted film that clocks in at just over two hours feels a lot closer to three. It is the actors and the music and the costumes that push us through some great story that just takes too long to spit out. The sentiment and truth of the memoir remains intact, however. As Agnes Finch tells the young man: It’s good to have a dream, Augusten. Indeed. If only we could get there a bit faster.