Unable to cope with reality and the difficulty that comes with it, 18 year old Susanna, is admitted to a mental institution in order to overcome her disorder. However, she has trouble understanding her disorder and therefore finds it difficult to tame, especially when she meets the suggestive and unpredictable Lisa.Written by
In the film, Susanna is diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder but it did not exist as a diagnosis in the DSM II, which would have been the diagnostic manual used during 1968 when the film is set. Borderline Personality Disorder was not a formal diagnosis until the DSM III which was released in the 1970s. See more »
Have you ever confused a dream with life? Or stolen something when you have the cash? Have you ever been blue? Or thought your train moving while sitting still? Maybe I was just crazy. Maybe it was the 60s. Or maybe I was just a girl... interrupted.
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Director James Mangold states in the DVD commentary that the original cut was three hours long. This version has not been shown publicly nor released on any media; however, the DVD contains 15 minutes of the scenes deleted from the final cut. See more »
In more ways than one, 'Girl Interrupted' is very similar to 'One flew over the cuckoo's nest'. To begin with both the films are set in mental institutions and chronicle life as it unfolds amidst those bland, white walls. Characters in both the film are acutely lifelike. But owing perhaps to it being a true story, 'Girl Interrupted' has characters that are much easier to identify with than McMurphy's brigade. Set in the 60's, the film is an account of the times spent in the Mental Institution by an eighteen year girl, Susanna Kaysen, a character portrayed with astonishing brilliance by the versatile Winona Ryder.
Susanna is a victim of neurosis, great expectations, confusion, an uncertain future and the sundry other problems an average teenager's life are pounded with. For all her brilliance, Susanna has the undeniable gift of the cynic and the pessimist, who still hasn't made up her mind about life's meaning and is upset about it. She has the nagging feeling that her character is incomplete and gets caught in the depressing vortex of tendencies that earn her the title of, what we're later told, a border line personality. An almost successful but unintentional suicide attempt lands her in the footsteps of Claymoore, a mental instituition. In the confined borders of the instituition, Susanna is surprised to discover how well she identifies with the pain and flaws of fellow inmates. Here, the atmosphere is sans any prejudice or cliches. Here, everyone is a victim one way or the other. Far from the deplorable world outside the instituition, susanna feels that she's finally home. And it is this atmosphere that slowly gives way to the realisation of her actual needs, her character and her purpose.
In the first half of the film, the director employs an interesting technique of fusing two different scenes and establishing a coherence that not only takes the story forward but at the same time tells us what is already past. Apart from Susanna and maybe Lisa, few characters are generously sketched. This, although, doesn't allow the loosening of the plot's grip on you. Furthermore, the institution is projected in a more agreeable light and the resultant sympathy for the characters ( unlike 'One flew over the cuckoo's nest') does not coincide with an abhorrence towards the angle of treatment. The movie does lead the viewer to understand the plight of the inmates, but not with the object of establishing the reasons that led to their condition. Rather it concentrates on the way these girls face their fate, day in and day out. It also highlights the way the girls identify with each others problems, hopes and desires in a fashion that alternates between being poignant and amusing.
Perhaps the most distinct factor about the movie is the exemplary performances put up by a cast that mostly comprises of females. I haven't seen a film that could hold its own without a single male lead, as good as this movie does. Winona Ryder is very convincing as Susanna. Angelina Jolie delivers so well that I am having a hard time getting over the fact that she agreed to Lara Croft. Whoopi Goldberg is good but her role is regrettably restricted. Constrained performances by all the actresses make this film worthy of being watched. It is funny, sad, mischievous and optimistic all at the same time.
Watch it if you can for it is very unlikely that you would get disappointed. Like I said it is quite likeable!
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