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Girl, Interrupted (1999)

Winona Ryder , Angelina Jolie , James Mangold  |  R |  DVD
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (496 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Winona Ryder, Angelina Jolie, Clea DuVall, Brittany Murphy, Elisabeth Moss
  • Directors: James Mangold
  • Writers: James Mangold, Anna Hamilton Phelan, Lisa Loomer, Susanna Kaysen
  • Producers: Carol Bodie, Cathy Konrad, Douglas Wick
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Special Edition, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: June 6, 2000
  • Run Time: 127 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (496 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00003CWQR
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,517 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Girl, Interrupted" on IMDb

Special Features

Digitally Mastered Audio & Anamorphic Video
Director's Commentary
Deleted Scenes with Commentary
"HBO First Look: The Making-Of Girl, Interupted"
Isolated Music Score
Theatrical Trailers
Talent Files
Production Notes

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

Based on Susanna Kaysen's acclaimed journal-memoir, Girl, Interrupted bears inevitable resemblance to One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, and pale comparison to that earlier classic is impossible to avoid. The mental institution settings of both films guarantee a certain degree of déjà vu and at least one Oscar winner (in this case, Angelina Jolie), since playing a loony is any actor's dream gig. Unfortunately, director James Mangold seems to have misplaced the depth and delicacy of his underrated debut, Heavy, despite a great deal of earnest effort by everyone involved. It's easy to see why Winona Ryder chose to star in (and executive-produce) this nearly worthy adaptation of Kaysen's book, since it's a strong vehicle for female casting and potent drama. Mangold certainly got the former; whether he succeeded with the latter is not so clear.

To be sure, Ryder conveys the confusion and chaos that signified Kaysen's life during nearly 18 months of voluntary institutionalization beginning in 1967. But the film seems too eager to embrace the cliché that the "crazies" of the Claymoore women's ward are saner than the war-torn world outside, and lack of narrative focus gives way to semipredictable character study. Susanna (Ryder) is labeled with "borderline personality disorder," a diagnosis as ambiguous as her own emotions, and while Jolie chews the scenery as the resident bad-girl sociopath, Ryder effectively conveys an odyssey from vulnerable fear to self-awareness and, finally, to healing. The ensemble cast is uniformly superb, making this drama well worthwhile, even as it treads familiar territory. If it ultimately lacks dramatic impact, Girl, Interrupted makes it painfully clear that the boundaries of dysfunction are hazy in a world where everyone's crazy once in a while. --Jeff Shannon

Product Description

Two time Oscar(r)-nominee Winona Ryder stars in the fascinating true story of a young woman's life-altering stay at a famous psychiatric hospital in the turbulent late 1960's. Questionably diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder, Susanna (Winona Ryder) rebels against the head nurse (Whoopi Goldberg) and top psychiatrist (Vanessa Redgrave), choosing instead to befriend the resident "loonies",a group of troubled women including the seductively charismatic sociopath Lisa (Angelina Jolie). But Susanna quickly learns if she wants her freedom, she'll have to face the person who terrifies her the most of all: herself.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
71 of 75 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD
Winona Ryder is back from several years of lull in any highly memorable roles in major movies, and she is right on form with possibly her best performance yet. But that is certainly not all this movie has to offer. She plays Susannah Kaysen, an inpatient for a year at a mental hospital, who wrote the book about her real life story on which this is based. Not only Susannah but several of the other inpatients are most memorable characters. Angelina Jolie won Best Supporting Actress for playing Lisa, a sometimes menacing and always interesting patient there because of her anti-social personality. Other quite meomrable characters include a pathological liar who is Susannah's usually sweet roommate, played by Clea DuVall, and the Sullen and obsessed Daisy, who will eat nothing but chicken from her father's rotisserie, played by Brittany Murphy. Through her own struggles and interactions with the others, Susannah confronts in a memorable way some of the hot issues of the late 1960's, making this almost a nostalgia trip as well as a riveting human drama.
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50 of 53 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars As Amusing as it is poignant July 25, 2002
Format:DVD
Here's a look inside a mental hospital that will amply entertain while it communicates a heart-rending angst just as compellingly. Winona Ryder plays Susanna Kaysen, an inpatient in a true-life story who told her experiences in the institution in a book of the same title. Her own story is poignant but ever rivaled by that of other fellow patients. One is Georgina, Susannah's sort-of happy-go-quirky roommate. Then there's Daisy, a sad and somber patient whose story will break your heart. And there's long-time resident Polly, sweet and loveable but still a prisoner to her childhood trauma in which she set herself on fire. But stealing the show is Lisa, played by Angelina Jolie, possibly the most spellbinding of less-than-heroic movie characters since Hannibal Lecter. It is impossible not to relate to Lisa and even sympathize with her somewhat, even though she is menacing and can be cruel. She traumatizes other patients, for example taunting poor Polly and calling her "torch". Lisa is the escape artist of the group and bonds with Susannah in surprising ways. There's indeed some heavy stuff here. But it's also highly watchable with humanity and sometimes humor shining through the tragedy.
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53 of 58 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Girl, Interrupted will leave you speechless April 21, 2000
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
After seeing so many empty movies, Girl, Interrupted certainly leaves an impression upon me. Girl, Interrupted is a nearly perfect movie based on a perfect book. Winona Ryder does an absolutely amazing job portraying lost soul Susanna Kaysen... her eyes alone do a wonderful job of portraying pain and confusion. Angelina Jolie gives yet another solid performance as this tale's tormented and tormenting sociopath; it's no surprise she won an Oscar for her interpretation of Lisa. The supporting cast of Girl, Interrupted is fantastic as well; Clea DuVall's Georgina has trapped herself in a fantasy world, Elizabeth Moss's scarred Polly never wants to grow up, and Brittany Murphy's Daisy shocks and saddens. A stunning use of flashbacks interspersed with present events moves the movie forward as you learn more about Susanna and company. The only complaint I have about this movie is the typical Hollywood ending tacked on at the end. Definitely not enough to spoil the film or even mar it slightly, but I expected better after reading the utterly compelling novel. This movie is a winner that will be enjoyed. Being 18 myself, I can completely relate: "Sometimes the only way to stay sane is to go a little crazy."
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fine performances mark a fine film. April 24, 2000
Format:DVD
I watched "Girl, Interrupted" with a friend of mine in west Los Angeles in a theater full of college to middle-aged women. Honestly, folks, this is Winona Ryder's best performance to date, although it might not be immediately obvious because of the tremendous subtlety in her acting. Sure, Angelina Jolie is electrifying, but in obvious ways since her role was clearly the flashier of the two. Despite rumors that they didn't get along too well during the shoot, Ryder and Jolie work very well together onscreen, and the supporting cast is stellar, particularly Clea DuVall (Georgina) and Brittany Murphy (Daisy). There are a few scenes in this movie that present some of Ryder's very best acting of all of her films.
Director James Mangold (Heavy, Cop Land) did a fine job avoiding cheap sentimentality, and I was impressed with his fluid adaptation of a very disjointed and unconventional narrative work. My one complaint is that the film wasn't as gritty or as emotionally resonant as I would have liked, so I walked out of the theater feeling more impressed with the performances than impacted by the story. Still, for any Winona Ryder fan, this movie--with its 2 hours full of close-ups of Ryder's hauntingly beautiful face--is an absolute dream. Multiple layers of muted anguish are registered in Ryder's expressive eyes, and her most powerful acting in this film comes out through her subtle facial expressions rather than any spoken words. "Girl, Interrupted" is not a disappointment by any means. If anything, it has strengthened my respect for Winona Ryder as an actor.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Mental Health Memoir February 26, 2002
Format:DVD
Winona Ryder stars as Susanna Kaysen, whose voluntary stint in a mental hospital in the late 60's was the basis of her memoir on which the film is based. Susanna enters Claymore after she tries to commit suicide by taking a whole bottle of aspirin. She is placed on a floor with people she deems to be actually crazy. Her roommate, Georgina is a pathological liar while other residents include a girl who burned herself to disfiguration, an anorexic, and Linda, a sociopath. Linda is played by Angelina Jolie with manic fervor. She chews up every scene she's in and is a commanding presence. As Susanna goes through a year and half of therapy, she starts off as rebellious and skeptical of her diagnosis of borderline personality disorder, but then comes to grips with her own fears and problems. Vanessa Redgrave and Jeffrey Tambor play psychiatrists and Whoopi Goldberg is a nurse on Susanna's floor. While Ms. Jolie scored a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her role, it is Ms. Ryder who holds this film together. Her understated performance perfectly captures the confusion that the real Susanna must have been going through. Girl, Interrupted has a powerful message, but is a bit too long and drags in places.
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