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Girl, Interrupted (1999)

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Based on writer Susanna Kaysen's account of her 18-month stay at a mental hospital in the late 1960s.

Director:

James Mangold

Writers:

Susanna Kaysen (book), James Mangold (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
Reviews
Popularity
1,086 ( 118)
Won 1 Oscar. Another 7 wins & 11 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Winona Ryder ... Susanna
Angelina Jolie ... Lisa
Clea DuVall ... Georgina (as Clea Duvall)
Brittany Murphy ... Daisy
Elisabeth Moss ... Polly
Jared Leto ... Tobias Jacobs
Jeffrey Tambor ... Dr. Potts
Vanessa Redgrave ... Dr. Wick
Whoopi Goldberg ... Valerie
Angela Bettis ... Janet
Jillian Armenante ... Cynthia
Drucie McDaniel Drucie McDaniel ... M-G
Alison Claire Alison Claire ... Gretta
Christina Myers ... Margie
Joanna Kerns ... Annette
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Storyline

In 1967, Susanna Kaysen had a headache and chased a bottle of aspirin with a bottle of vodka. This landed her in the mental institution, Claymoore. Here she is diagnosed, by Dr. Melvin Potts, with borderline personality disorder. When she arrives at Claymoore, she is greeted by Nurse Valerie Owens and shown round the woman's ward. Here she meets Georgina Tuskin, a pathological liar who is fixated with The Wizard of Oz; Polly Clark, a childlike schizophrenic; Janet Webber, a sardonic anorexic patient; Daisy Randone, a girl who won't let anyone in her room, and only eats her father's chicken; and Lisa Rowe, a sociopath who controls the other patients, and makes lives hard for the nurses at Claymoore. Through the movie, Lisa gains and loses control over Susanna and we see how bad she really can be. The movie's ending shows Susanna being released from Claymoore after an 18-month stay. How does Susanna take back her control? This movie battles subjects such as mental heath, abuse, ...

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Sometimes the only way to stay sane is to go a little crazy See more »

Genres:

Biography | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong language and content relating to drugs, sexuality and suicide | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

One of the characters is called Daisy Randone. Director and screenwriter James Mangold's previous movie, Cop Land (1997), which he also wrote as well as directed, also featured characters with the surname Randone (Joey and Liz Randone). See more »

Goofs

"The End of the World" by Skeeter Davis is on Daisy's record player, but the record itself is a Columbia 45 from the early-to-mid-1950s (red label, gold print). This song was first released on an RCA 45 from 1963, with a black label. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Susanna: [narrating] 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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Alternate Versions

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 »

Connections

Referenced in 100 Deeds for Eddie McDowd: Dog Interrupted (2002) See more »

Soundtracks

The Girl from Ipanema
Music by Vinicius de Moraes and Antonio Carlos Jobim
English lyric by Norman Gimbel
Performed by Astrud Gilberto
Courtesy of Verve Music Group
Under license from Universal Music Special Markets
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User Reviews

That Girl
23 August 2000 | by marshallbanditSee all my reviews

"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.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

Germany | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

14 January 2000 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Girl, Interrupted See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$40,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$95,399, 26 December 1999

Gross USA:

$28,912,646

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$48,350,205
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital | SDDS (8 channels)

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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