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Overall Rating

Awesome: 11.11%
Worth A Look50%
Just Average: 5.56%
Pretty Crappy: 2.78%
Sucks: 30.56%

2 reviews, 24 user ratings

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Prozac Nation
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by John Rice

"So true to its topic, it may be difficult for many viewers to understand."
4 stars

Every once in a while a film comes along which is so completely on target about a topic most people have such inability or unwillingness to understand, it is brushed off as poorly done or downright absurd. Prozac Nation is one of those films. Sometimes seeming to lack coherence, even coming off as a meandering, irrational, emotional mess, it actually attempts to show how the world appears through the eyes of depression, and in its way, is quite successful.

Elizabeth Wurtzel (Christina Ricci) is a young woman with a particularly strong talent for writing. She has earned a scholarship to Harvard and is preparing to leave for Boston and her freshman year. Her overbearing mother, who appears to have no respect for Elizabeth as an individual, as evidenced by her barging into Elizabeth's room while she sits on her bed naked, is thrilled that her daughter is on the verge of fulfilling her potential by attending an Ivy League College, and making the profitable contacts it will no doubt lead to.

Once Elizabeth arrives on campus, she almost immediately engages in drug and alcohol abuse and a fairly promiscuous sex life. Before long, she finds herself unable to write, leading to bouts of obsessive and destructive behavior. The creative release she once relied on for survival ceases to exist and she begins to lose her mind.

What makes an honest look at depression so difficult to show in a movie is how it defies reason. The more true it is to the subject, the more difficult it is for the general public to comprehend. Put simply, it makes absolutely no sense when looked at rationally, but can only truly be understood from the inside. For some viewers, it may seem emotionally extreme and difficult to relate to.

What keeps Prozac Nation from going over the edge is the fine performance by Christina Ricci. Her role is tempered with the subtlety needed to prevent the entire film from descending into Mommie Dearest goes to Harvard. It is no small feat for an actor to display the often annoying behavior of Elizabeth without alienating the audience, but Ricci does it admirably. Recently I have begun to realize what a fine actor Ricci has become. Hidden behind the obvious and extreme performance by Charlize Theron in Monster, there was Ricci, in an admittedly similar role to what she plays here, once again with great tact and a profoundly sentimental edge. This type of performance is easily overlooked, but I will take it over Theron's any day.

A somewhat minor, not to mention, uncommon complaint I have with Prozac Nation is that it is too short. Scene transitions are occasionally abrupt and beneficial scenes are missing in a way which does not so much reflect the disjointed nature of Elizabeth's existence as what was probably a desire by the studio or director to keep the film short. At barely over 90 minutes, it definitely could have used an extra 10 to 20 minutes.

What does work especially well is how Elizabeth becomes physically and mentally disconnected from her surroundings at times of stress. She looks at the face of a friend who she has betrayed, seeing her pain and anger but unable to hear her. She walks across campus and everything around her turns into an amorphous blur. Her surroundings spin around her as she loses her ability to write and release her frustrations. Peppered in between her outbreaks are moments when she is distinctly aware of the pain she causes others, but most of the time, she has no control. All these moments, and the disjoined feelings they produce are part of her illness.

If there is any actual failing in Prozac Nation, it is with the rather common implications it makes to what caused Elizabeth's problems. Her divorced parents have spent her entire life battling each other, trapping her in the middle. Her mother talks around her, blinded by her own desires and giving no regard for Elizabeth as an individual. Her father, who left when she was 2, alternately seeks contact with her and disappears for years at a time. These are Hollywood explanations which can be quite real, but it would have been more satisfying to see a more ambiguous and realistic cause. In real life, these causes are rarely so clear and identifiable.

This review originally appeared on Slacker-Reviews.com.

Prozac Nation gives the explanation that depression takes over "gradually, then suddenly" until "you wake up one morning, afraid you are going to live." The fear of living another day is at its core and so completely against human nature, it is difficult to understand. This is not a completely successful film, but is probably as successful as anything on this topic could be.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=7230&reviewer=373
originally posted: 07/16/04 23:28:38
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User Comments

12/09/18 Neilford A command character study and performance in a film with flawed storytelling. 4 stars
3/17/14 Wbnlnzlx But with respect to our Board Member. Sometimes it is valuable started helping out., <a hre 3 stars
2/19/14 Csaicppw Ed Pillsre are some tips for choosing Ed Pills appropriate attributes in order to go to his 4 stars
3/25/11 brian Overlook the planted comments from '05. Terrific if imperfect movie. 4 stars
1/09/09 Shaun Wallner Great Film! 4 stars
6/05/07 David Pollastrini very accurate in it's depiction of depression. 5 stars
3/27/07 fools&#9835;gold Like Bill Murray, Christina Ricci seems to be perfect in all she does. 5 stars
11/21/06 Jess Ricci was simply amazing! What a performance 4 stars
11/06/06 valerie AMAZING 5 stars
7/24/06 Lilly easy to forget 2 stars
6/09/06 chuck the kids posting comments dont have the intelligence to understand it and its genius 5 stars
1/15/06 chris. the book-perfect. the movie-a copy of a copy of a copy. 1 stars
9/14/05 Melissa Hated it. 1 stars
9/08/05 Dray Everybody's right. This movie blows. 1 stars
9/06/05 eleni my god, this movie was bad. 1 stars
9/02/05 larry absolutely crappy. 1 stars
8/22/05 bizenya one of the worst movies i've ever seen. 1 stars
8/21/05 gary terrible. 1 stars
8/19/05 fart it shows christina ricci's tits. still sucks, though 1 stars
8/07/05 nads depression is for suckers and idiots. 1 stars
8/02/05 Buford totally gay. 1 stars
7/08/05 asina this movie was a worthless piece of crap, just like the pathetic main character. 1 stars
4/12/05 Landshark Force yourself to look at the painful moments of life and be rewarded with understanding 4 stars
9/18/04 James nothing compared to the book of the same title 3 stars
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  14-Mar-2003 (R)
  DVD: 05-Jul-2005



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