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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 1960s.

Director:

James Mangold

Writers:

Susanna Kaysen (book), James Mangold (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
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Popularity
839 ( 16)
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

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 Toni

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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Details

Country:

USA | Germany

Language:

English

Release Date:

14 January 2000 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Inocencia interrumpida See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$40,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$95,399, 26 December 1999, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$28,912,646, 31 December 2000

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$48,350,205, 31 December 2000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital | SDDS (8 channels)

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The quote Dr. Sonia Wick uses during her first meeting with Susanna Kaysen is from Lucio Anneo Seneca, a Roman Stoic philosopher. See more »

Goofs

The story shows the draft lottery taking place before Martin Luther King Jr. is assassinated. King was assassinated in 1968, and the first draft lottery was in December 1969. 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.
See more »

Alternate Versions

Director James Mangold states in the DVD commentary that the original cut was 3 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 BoJack Horseman: Commence Fracking (2017) See more »

Soundtracks

The Right Time
Written by Lew Herman
Performed by Aretha Franklin
Courtesy of Atlantic Recording Corp.
By Arrangement with Warner Special Products
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Incredible performances and an enormously involving narrative. ***1/2 (out of four)
22 June 2001 | by Movie-12See all my reviews

GIRL, INTERRUPTED / (1999) ***1/2 (out of four)

By Blake French:

"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 60's. Or maybe I was just a girl... interrupted."

Those are some of the most memorable lines from James Mangold's honest, heartfelt drama "Girl Interrupted." The speaker is Susanna Kaysen, played by Winona Ryder. The film is based on the memoir of Kaysen herself, re-encountering the experiences she actually spent in a mental institution after an attempted suicide. The book of the same name was published in 1993; it spent time on almost every best-seller list, including 11 weeks on the New York Times.

It was in the 1980's when Kaysen began to revisit the most formative time in her life-20 years after the actual hospitalization. Memories of a nearly two-year stay at McLean Psychiatric Hospital, a private and exclusive institution near Cambridge, resurfaced while constructing her second book. She began writing vignettes of her experiences in the hospital, writing short stories about a time in her life she had not discussed for two decades.

"The only thing that ever made me less loony was writing," remembers Cambridge, Massachusetts-based writer Susanna Kaysen, author of her memoir, "Girl, Interrupted." Set in the turbulent 60's, the film details the young Kaysen, who finds herself at a mental institution for disturbed young women. Susanna makes friends, including a seductive and dangerous regular named Lisa (Angelina Jolie).

I have never read this book, but after watching "Girl, Interrupted" I am seriously considering it. The film is a powerful exploration into a depressing, bleak situation. When this movie was released theatrically in late 1999, I wondered how many people would want to see something about a young writer who tries to kill herself and then spends time in a nut-house. However, I was wrong to presume anything. "Girl, Interrupted" contains a vivid, convincing world for its characters, but never do we feel awkward while watching this film, but involved and concerned.

Screen-adapters James Mangold, Lisa Loomer, and Anna Hamilton Phelan construct a central character that is both consistent and empathetic. As the movie opens, we never see Kaysen's suicide attempt-there is no need to show it. This is a film about the results, not the action. We gradually learn about Kaysen as the movie progresses, thus the lack of initial character development. Even with little introductory material to establish her character, Winona Ryder creates a soothing, intriguing sole for Kaysen. The audience cares about Susanna before we even understand why she was sent to the mental institution.

The film's supporting cast, including Jared Leto, Clea Duvall, Elizabeth Moss, Jeffrey Tambor, Whoopi Goldberg, Vanessa Redgrave, and Angelina Jolie, who won an Academy Award for her performance, actually develops the mood of the film-an essential aspect of its overall impact. James Mangold ("Copland") has a ambiguous style here, but it works extraordinarily well in this film. "Girl, Interrupted" should do wonders for Susanna Kaysen's book; after watching the film, it is hard not to want to read the memoir.


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