"Borderline personality disorder" is one of those phrases that says more about the people who invented it than it does about the patient it's supposed to describe. When Susanna Kaysen (Winona Ryder) the 18-year old heroine of "Girl Interrupted" enters Claymoore hospital, a psychiatric facility outside Boston, she is diagnosed with the syndrome - but in fact, all she's done is made a hapless suicide attempt and acted slack and mopey and lost in her sober daydreams. Her personality isn't borderline -- it's self-pitying and indulgent. Fortunately, the film understands this. Set in 1967, and adapted from Kaysen's memoir of her two-year experience as an adolescent in the throes of a middle-class crack up, "Girl Interrupted" is shrewd, tough and lively - a junior-league "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" that never makes the mistake of portraying its protagonist as a victim-naif. She's more like the original poster child for Prozac Nation: a girl who'd rather interrupt her own life, even if it means going a little crazy, than grow up.
Susanna is thrown in with a turbulent gallery of disturbed young women. They range from a girl who tried to burn her own face off to one who won't eat anything but chicken from her father's deli (she stores the carcasses under the bed). Most of the patients are harmless, but Lisa (Angelina Jolie) a heartless, charismatic sociopath, delights in her destructive power. Jolie brings the kind of combustible sexuality to the screen that our movies, in the age of Meg Ryan have been missing for too long. As Susanna and Lisa become comrades, then enemies, Susanna becomes like a space cadet fighting a secret war with herself, and through Lisa she plays out that war. The film allows Ryder to trace Susanna's gradual emergence from her "borderline" state as she confronts the cruel truth of mental illness.
Directed with satisfying authority by James Mangold, "Girl Interrupted" is really about the thorny neurotic underside of a contemporary young woman's struggle to leave childhood behind. By the end, you feel that Ryder, at long last, has done that as an actress.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
Just A Girl, Interrupted
Girl, Interrupted is my favorite movie of all time and I think no other movie can even come close to the emotional impact this film had on me. I know first hand what it was like for Susanna Kaysen (Winona Ryder) because I was in a mental health facility for a week because of my depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and suicidal thoughts, back in 1999. To me, this movie portrays life in a mental hospital almost perfectly as it was in the 1960's. The cast choices (including Winona Ryder, Angelina Jolie, Brittany Murphy) are amazing.
I would recommend this movie to anyone who has ever wondered what it is really like for us "lunatics" when we are admitted to a hospital such as this. I would also recommend it to anyone who is searching for a good tear-jerker that really makes you think about your life. Since this movie is rated R because of it's adult language, concepts, and sexual situations, it's probably not for anyone under 14 years old. Most kids under 14 would not understand it or follow it much anyway. I also do not recommend this movie to anyone who is not open-minded!
While this movie is my favorite and it's really hard to give any bad ratings, I would have to say when you watch it for the first time, you might get a little mixed up as far as the plot goes. You have to pay close attention to every point made by the characters to fully understand what is happening to Susanna (Ryder). Also, this movie jumps around, forward and backward, in time (as it does for Susanna in her mind), and you will actually find new things you likely missed the first time when watching it again.
With my background in mental facilities and problems, I could figure out the problems Susanna and the others faced, but if you have no real background in mental health problems, you might not realize all the problems in this movie. You might not realize the motives behind some characters' behaviors and judge them by what they do, not what causes them to do what they do. Reading the autobiographical book before watching the movie also helps you keep ahead in the movie.
Please take this movie seriously; IT IS REAL.
15 of 16 people found this review helpful.
I was emotionally connected to this film
"Girl, Interrupted" is such a beautiful interpretation of the book! It was deeply emotional and engrossed me completely. I was enchanted by Angelina's performance, which was perfect. And Winona was perfect too, along with Brittany Murphy's highly intriguing character. I was swept away by this film, and I've become quite emotionally attached to it because It's very relatable to those of us who sometimes have felt a little less than sane, and I think that anyone who has felt this way will like it too. I really recommend reading the book before watching, because it gives a better insight into Susanna Kaysen's (the main character and author) story and thought process, in addition to building depth upon Angelina Jolie's and Brittany Murphy's characters as they were in real life. This was a beautiful film filled with intense scenes regarding over-dosing, mental hospitals, and death, but I recommend it to all who are interested, you won't regret it.
Girl, Interrupted is one of the most amazing movies I've ever seen. Probably one of the most depressing films ever! It has everything. I usually find myself watching this when I'm a little down and it helps to open my mind and see life through other people, and how they deal with real life issues. I've learned a lot from this true story. Usually when you mention "mental institution" to someone, they quickly refer that to being where crazy people go, nutcases or lunatics, and that's certainly not the case at all. With this film you get to learn about some of the different reasons why people go there and it's even possible to make a true friend, one that you keep in your heart forever. Some of the parts in this story are devastating, sometimes it lifts you up then brings you down, but that's why I love it. The cast is also fantastic, Brittany Murphy (I loved her character!), Clea DuVall, Angela Bettis, Winona Ryder and Angelina Jolie were perfect not to mention Whoopie Goldberg..she's awesome! It's funny how Angelina and Winona can't stand each other in real life, in fact they hated working together on the set of this film but they did such a wonderful job. I would highly recommend you purchase this masterpiece if you haven't already.
Girl, Interrupted...A Little Strange But Fascinating!
Angelina Jolie and Winona Ryder give some of their best performances in this movie...in my opinion. I love the way the two actresses make their characters so believable and "work" together so well. They are a marvelous fit. I didn't like where the song kept playing over and over, "Why do the birds go on singing..." it was really haunting after watching the movie, and I used to really like that song! I decided to purchase this movie as a replacement for one that my daughter had that got ruined.