This film was so nearly great, and I am not quite sure why it isn't.
Bening dominates the film, as Deirdre Burroughs, the failed poet and mother who turns to an insane and dominating psychiatrist for help, becomes hooked on prescription medication and abandons her child to him. She is by turns charming, beautiful, vicious, selfish, obtunded and psychotic. The brittleness, physicality and truth of her performance are brilliant.
The rest of the cast all put in good or great performances, in particular Agnes Finch, the downtrodden wife of the mad Dr Finch, Neil Bookman, the psychotic adoptive brother, who becomes Augusten's lover and Natalie, his desperate and insightful half-sister.
And yet despite the individual performances, this film never quite comes together, which is a great shame. It lacks neither character nor incident and yet it drags in the middle. There are scenes which will stay me, which made it worth sitting through and so I cannot say this is a bad film, just not as great as it should have been and so nearly was.