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 scene where Toby visits Susanna at Claymoore, Valerie escorts him to the television room. Toby and Susanna talk briefly, with Janet observing them nearby in the background, on the left. When both Toby and Susanna exit the room, Janet suddenly appears on the right side. 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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The most striking and yet most frustrating part of `Girl, Interrupted' is that everybody that's been 19 years old can relate to Susanna, the main character. Based on her memoir, the film portrays Susanna Kaysen's short stay in a famous mental hospital, supposedly to cure her `borderline personality disorder.' Set in the late 1960's, Winona Ryder effectively portrays Kaysen.
In a tradition reminiscent of Holden Caulfield, the audience knows there is nothing actually wrong with Kaysen, except that she is a typical teenager, and refuses to conform to the life her parents want for her. However, after spending some time with her ward mates and numerous doctors, she starts to believe that she is insane, but can't understand why or what exactly is wrong with her. At one point, she asks a sympathetic nurse (played by Whoopi Goldberg) how she is expected to be cured if she doesn't even understand her illness. Throughout the film, writer James Mangold's exploration of Kaysen's changing emotions and attempts to understand her `illness' is captivating.
However, even more fascinating than Kaysen herself were the supporting characters. Perhaps the most striking of these characters though, is Lisa, played by Angelina Jolie. Jolie completely immerses herself in the role, and gives a moving, intriguing and haunting performance as Susanna's best friend at the hospital. Although Ryder does an excellent job portraying the earnestness and confusion of her character, Jolie is the true star of this movie.
Adapted from Kaysen's memoir, the film works well to bring Kaysen's' words to life. The parts that were altered for the screenplay made sense, allowing the story to translate well to the screen. Additionally, the length of the film allowed for more depth and details to be explored, which sometimes left out of Kaysen's short novel. Thus, the film helped add onto and bring more understanding to characters which were introduced in the novel.
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