An aspiring author during the civil rights movement of the 1960s decides to write a book detailing the African-American maids' point of view on the white families for which they work, and the hardships they go through on a daily basis.
The daughter of a brilliant but mentally disturbed mathematician, recently deceased, tries to come to grips with her possible inheritance: his insanity. Complicating matters are one of her father's ex-students who wants to search through his papers and her estranged sister who shows up to help settle his affairs.
Elizabeth "Lizzie" Wurtzel is a teenager accepted into Harvard with a scholarship in journalism. She has been raised by her divorced mother Mrs. Wurtzel since she was two years old, but she misses her father and feels needy and depressive. When she joins the university, she lives with a roommate Ruby and has her sexual initiation with Noah. Her article for the local column in Crimson newspaper is awarded by Rolling Stone magazine. Lizzie becomes abusive in sex and drugs, and her existential crisis and depression increases and she hurts her friends and her mother that love her, while dating Rafe. Mrs. Wurtzel sends her to an expensive psychiatric treatment with Dr. Sterling, in spite of having difficulties paying for her medical bills and therapy sessions. After a long period of treatment under medication, and suicide attempt, Lizzie stabilizes and adjusts to the real world. Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
A girl suffers from debilitating depression at Harvard.
I thought that the main problem with Prozac Nation was that it just seemed to lack focus. The movie obviously compressed a lot of details in the book, but I think if it had just focused on the main crisis of the book, the character's descent into depression would have been easier to understand and empathize. As it was, it tried to do that, but it also tried to cram in other things, and I feel that if I hadn't read the book or gone through something similar myself, I would not have understood why Lizzie was so afflicted at this particular point in her life.
I thought the acting was excellent: Michelle Williams and Jason Biggs were great, and Christina Ricci was phenomenal, capturing the entire range of the pain and anger and self-loathing of depression. I thought Jessica Lange put in a good performance, although her bizarre accent and the fact that she in no way resembles the darker and petite Christina Ricci was really distracting. I was simply unable to believe she was her mother, and certainly not a Jewish mother.
If you're a fan of one or more of the actors, I would watch the movie for the sake of appreciating their skill. Or, if you've suffered from severe depression, then watch it and know that there are other people who feel the same way you do and think the same thoughts as you, and who would understand why you feel and act the way you do. Otherwise, skip it. If you don't understand depression before going into the film, it is unlikely that this it will shed any light on the topic for you. It's pretty much impossible to understand unless you've been there yourself.
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