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Overall Rating
3.66

Awesome: 32.91%
Worth A Look: 16.46%
Just Average39.24%
Pretty Crappy: 6.96%
Sucks: 4.43%

10 reviews, 98 user ratings


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Girl, Interrupted
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by Rob Gonsalves

"Familiar but well-acted; worthwhile."
4 stars

Susanna Kaysen's 1993 memoir 'Girl, Interrupted' comes in at a lean, mean 169 pages; you could probably read it in less time than it takes to watch the movie version. Kaysen's terse little book, with its anecdotal, chronologically jumpy structure, doesn't seem like the stuff of a movie. There is one compelling reason to make a movie out of 'Girl, Interrupted,' though: meaty roles for an eager young female ensemble. On that level, and on several others, the movie triumphs.

Girl, Interrupted begins in 1967, when the 18-year-old Susanna (Winona Ryder) is sent to a New England psychiatric hospital after an apparent suicide attempt -- swallowing fifty aspirin -- though she keeps insisting she wasn't trying to kill herself. Nor does she see herself as crazy, though she definitely knows she's miserable, and she has an odd preoccupation with patterns and a nagging fear that she has no bones in her hands. Given a nudge one way or the other, Susanna could turn out to be a highly original artist, seeing the world as no one else does, or a homeless person ranting in Harvard Square. Or both. But she's caught in that painful limbo where she doesn't know what she is -- a common malady of 18-year-olds of any gender or era, whether or not they are suicidal on top of it.

At Claymore Hospital, Susanna is tossed in among some genuinely disturbed girls: her roomie Georgina (Clea DuVall), a pathological liar; Polly (Elizabeth Moss), who burned her face off when she was ten; Daisy (Brittany Murphy), who's fixated on chicken and laxatives. The real star of Kaysen's narrative, though, isn't Susanna herself. It's Lisa (Angelina Jolie), a free-spirited sociopath who keeps escaping the hospital and being brought back in handcuffs. Lisa is presented as a kind of life force, an explosion of Technicolor in this gray place; she represents everything Susanna wishes she could be, though there's more to Lisa than meets the eye.

For much of her screen time, Winona Ryder (who nurtured this project over a long development period and served as a producer) plays straight woman to Angelina Jolie; she simply sits back and gives the movie to Jolie without a struggle. Lisa is probably any young actress's dream role, and Jolie tears into it with sharp talons -- unafraid to seem unsympathetic, yet keeping our sympathies anyway, because even when Lisa is monstrous (her response to a tragedy late in the movie chills the blood), Jolie shows us the pain behind it. Lisa has developed such thick skin against suffering -- her own and others' -- that some part of her has shut down. What's left is a grinning mask that plays up to society's perception of her.

Director James Mangold (Heavy, Cop Land), who worked on the script with Lisa Loomer and Anna Hamilton Phelan, tries to put some beef on Kaysen's lean narrative. Some of it comes off as flab, as when some of the girls get together for an after-hours game of bowling. Generally, though, Mangold has quiet, subtle control of this highly emotional material; as he showed in his previous films, he has a fine feel for defeated, depressed characters -- secret societies of outcasts or misfits.

The emotional highs and lows in Girl, Interrupted are honestly earned. This isn't a nobility-of-the-insane piece, or a triumph-of-the-human-spirit fable. It's just the story of one girl and the other wounded girls she spent 18 months with. And the moviemakers give the story a classical shape -- and a double meaning for the title -- that Kaysen's memoir didn't have. In the book, Lisa wasn't used as a cautionary figure; Kaysen described running into a happier, healthier Lisa (who'd had a son) years later. In the movie, we see that Susanna wasn't only interrupted in her life; she was, as Kaysen points out, flirting with madness, and the movie's Lisa represents what Susanna no longer wants to become.

Susanna is interrupted on her way to being Lisa; at the end, we feel, she's begun to figure out how to be herself.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=1814&reviewer=416
originally posted: 01/23/07 19:02:18
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User Comments

8/19/10 art I RECANT my DECEMBERS comment's,THIS IS A BREATH-TAKING FILM!,RYDER and JOLIE were GREAT! 4 stars
4/09/10 PAUL SHORTT INTERESTING, VIVID ADAPTATION 3 stars
12/18/09 art NOT ONLY DEPRESSING BUT BORING TOO BOOT! 1 stars
8/19/09 art RATED D FOR DEPRESSING! 2 stars
3/19/09 Lenny Zane Oh, all the gullible folks who say "Daisy was sexually abused" jus cause LISA says so! Gad! 4 stars
1/11/09 Shaun Wallner Interesting Story! 3 stars
11/11/08 sf333 seeing it through the eyes of one with a mental illness, the movie was contrite but good 3 stars
3/04/08 mb Was OK. Not outstanding. 3 stars
2/07/07 David Pollastrini all the women in this film are hot! 3 stars
10/22/06 lyn2 excellent movie 5 stars
6/19/06 Kelly Spackman Excellent.It was well acted, the actreses were perfect. I relate to the movie. 5 stars
4/27/06 Alana M. Barquero I thought that this was a great movie. 5 stars
10/15/05 Sara Great - makes you think 5 stars
8/19/05 ES it reminds me of a female take on the first half of toy soldiers, only no gunmen 1 stars
6/14/05 Indrid Cold A dreary, uninteresting drama. 3 stars
2/22/05 Colleen Goldrick Excellent 5 stars
12/08/04 Kristina Williams Angie's BEST work. She MAKES this movie. 5 stars
10/27/04 Stephanie this was areally great movie, it demonstrates what a mental pateint feels and go through. 5 stars
9/28/04 Erica This psychological Dark Comedy has it all...Drama, comedy, awsome acting! 5 stars
3/09/04 Jaime This is one of the best movies made in awhile, eroticly stunning and sedisticly majestic. 5 stars
3/07/04 reptilesni what exactly in Winona Ryder's talent again? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? 1 stars
11/28/03 Bonnie Angie was the girl interrupted. I still say Winona and Angie should have had an affair! 5 stars
10/01/03 Anna Daisy isn't bulemic, she eats chicken and takes laxatives and she's sexually abused. 5 stars
7/28/03 Ghetto Smurf Why did Jolie win an Oscar? Ryder was waaaay better. 5 stars
5/10/03 The Lurchprong Splitter Analina Jolie, otherwise not much of an actress, lucks out on role of a lifetime. 4 stars
3/29/03 Jenny Tullwartz WARNING, SPOILERS: Best movie ever about a constipated girl hanging herself. 5 stars
3/04/03 Tammy This is perhaps the best movie I have seen in years, a most see!! 5 stars
2/02/03 violet Very well done. The performances by the cast were incredible. 5 stars
11/15/02 Big Ted Ryder was MUCH better than Jolie. 4 stars
11/14/02 Stevo Shut up Winona. Shut up. Oh fuck it, I'm going to sleep. 1 stars
9/21/02 Brahmsian Angelina deserves the raves she's gotten for this. Winona isn't bad either. 5 stars
8/12/02 blakers a great film 5 stars
8/01/02 Erin great movie, watch with an open mind, and you'll take a lot from it. 5 stars
4/01/02 Jake What the hell are you doin' Lisa!!! Back off..... 1 stars
3/22/02 The REAL Lisa.... Angelina cannot ACT. She plays the same 'bad girl' in ALL of her fucking shite movies. 1 stars
3/04/02 Alan Smithee Jolie does a great job, but she overpowers the rest of the cast. still watchable. 4 stars
2/24/02 Butterbean Jolie saves this movie, even though she's playing the same character she did in Gia. 3 stars
2/24/02 Jenny Tullwartz !!SPOILERS!! Best of all movies about a constipated girl hanging herself. 5 stars
1/26/02 Ashley Corpening Great, but is that really Angelina Jolie? She never looked or acted that way before. 5 stars
1/13/02 Flick Chick Jolie rocked - the rest of the movie sucked big time. 3 stars
1/03/02 red neck psychologist great movie! From psychology to femenism it is a must see! 5 stars
12/07/01 Sara Randell "don't point your finger at fucking crazy people!" 4 stars
11/30/01 ortwin schäfer steht in Tradition vom "kuckucksnest" 4 stars
11/06/01 MissyWalks Loved Jolie.v She made it worth watching. Otherwise, I would have turned it off. 4 stars
9/29/01 Interrupted Excellent, too true - self harm! great film, wonderful and brillian acting - Ryder, Jolie 5 stars
9/05/01 omar angelina is the best actress alive 5 stars
9/01/01 Butterbean Jolie deserved that Oscar and saved this movie from that always dull Ryder 3 stars
8/26/01 Gary The film recovers amazingly from a slow first half-hour. Jolie is astounding. 4 stars
8/18/01 svetlana all around very excellent film...4 and a half stars 4 stars
8/03/01 Katie It was an excellent movie and the book was great as well. amazingly brilliant. 5 stars
7/25/01 Wendy Parker Absolutely splended 5 stars
7/24/01 Monday Morning Angelina. Whoopi. Projectile vomit. 2 stars
7/19/01 Gus Pretty good - too bad winona ryder is in it though 4 stars
5/25/01 jazmin wicked shit 5 stars
4/16/01 LiL Very disturbing, very good 5 stars
4/01/01 Jesse L Angelina is just a bad actress but Winona made her look better than normal 2 stars
3/23/01 Katie Patterson I loved this film. I've seen it at least 5 times and I've also read the book. 5 stars
2/16/01 Jake Realistic and touching 4 stars
1/30/01 Sss Saa 1 stars
12/28/00 Slayer Grrl, Interrupted Offers a totally accurate look into the world of mental illness- I would know. g2love AJ!!! 5 stars
9/13/00 Boy In The Designer Bubble Damn that girl's got some soup coolers on her. Must be a lip job gone bad. 4 stars
8/21/00 TALIA IT'S GREAT!!! 5 stars
8/14/00 Monday Morning My wife loved this film so I'm voting for her...within reason. 4 stars
8/08/00 Jed AJ is a tad overrated and this film does get annoying but over than that its a great film 4 stars
6/28/00 Faith i loved it 5 stars
6/25/00 Trina M. Barnard Angelina Jolie did an excellent job 4 stars
6/21/00 Jeff AJ is very good0 but my god, her lips are about to explode. 3 stars
6/13/00 Michael Grimm Jolie was excellent but the rest just drug on forever 3 stars
6/07/00 Amanda It was a great movie 5 stars
5/20/00 mellemel I fell asleep at this movie. 2 stars
4/27/00 Luciana Carolina Becerra Muestra lo que nadie quiere ver "el conformismo y lo normal" Haganse cargo. 5 stars
4/25/00 hahahah best movie i've seen 5 stars
4/10/00 grateful a beautifil film 5 stars
3/28/00 Jessica If you don't like this movie, then you've never been an 18 year old girl. 5 stars
3/19/00 Leonardo Dicaprio EXCELLENT BLOODY EXCELLENT 5 stars
3/18/00 Joel Harwood It was one of the most touching and emotional films of the year top ten in 99 5 stars
3/15/00 t one of the best movies ever 5 stars
3/11/00 tasha I read the book first. Terrible book. Then I watched the movie. Don't read the book. 3 stars
2/16/00 Larissa Hunka It is the best!!! 5 stars
2/14/00 Germanicus Winona and Jolie are good but the film is boring and seems to go nowhere. 3 stars
2/13/00 Gary Yee jolie is awesome and steals the show 4 stars
2/01/00 Joel Harwood I will order a touching drama/comedy with the lot please hold the bad actors 5 stars
1/29/00 P.S.O.K jolie deserved her golden globe winning 5 stars
1/28/00 puppyboy434@aol.com moving non-saccarhine portrait of mental illness 5 stars
1/27/00 Tia A little long...but good movie. Angelina Jolie really shone above everyone including Winona 4 stars
1/22/00 Lisa Rose Very moving film, great performances, especially from Angelina Jolie, th Goddess! 5 stars
1/20/00 Triple beautiful and moving, a real fable 5 stars
1/19/00 Sarah Provencher The movie sucks to be quite bold, but Angelina is brilliant and worth the movie alone. 5 stars
1/18/00 jenn "Blu Smrf" this movie is awesome, truely moving,,,amazing acting 5 stars
1/15/00 Joe Shapira ryder is amazing as always! definitely worth your time and $$! 5 stars
1/15/00 Malbert Interesting, sad movie...Jolie was great 3 stars
1/05/00 Ant major waste of time except for Jolie 2 stars
1/05/00 RetroGirl Stunning performances 5 stars
1/04/00 rigthzt ughzoru 5 stars
1/03/00 O.H. Bennett A very good story with outstanding performances all around--esp. from Jolie & Ryder 4 stars
1/02/00 Dor See this movie!! Amazing performances! Funny, thoughtful and interesting. 5 stars
12/25/99 Movie Person The movie was decent, but Angelina Jolie was awesome as usual. 4 stars
12/19/99 Aquarium Girl A beautiful, heart-breaking story. 5 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  21-Dec-1999 (R)

UK
  N/A

Australia
  20-Jan-2000




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