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on April 26, 2002
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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on July 25, 2002
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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on April 21, 2000
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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on April 24, 2000
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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on January 18, 2004
"Girl, Interrupted" is a very well portrayed true story about a young woman who has lost her way in the sixties and ends up in a mental institution. While Angelina Jolie drew me to this film, what left me with the biggest impression was the overall story and the fact that it's a true story makes it that much more incredible. While it's a given that Hollywood adds and subtracts from the "truth" in stories such as this one; even if there is just a modicum of the truth left to this story, it conveys Susanna Kaysen's story with a true depth of feeling and character that is extremely compelling, resulting in a heartrending yet enlightening film.
Given the fact that Angelina Jolie won and Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for this film for her exceptional performance, which again shows the incredible range of acting skills she possesses; Winona Ryder was the intended star of this film and she shines perfectly in this role. It has been some time since I saw a film of hers and I would definitely have to say that she's done nothing but get better! One cannot help but give acclaim to Whoopi Goldberg and Vanessa Redgrave for their outstanding performances in supporting roles.
James Mangold deserves high praise for lending his directing and writing talents for the screenplay to this film and taking it in the direction that he did when considering how the original book was written.
The Premise:
As stated above, "Girl, Interrupted" is the true story written by Susanna Kaysen when in her tumultuous youth during the sixties, she brought herself to the brink where, despite her denial, she'd attempted suicide and ended up in a mental institution where her life was irrevocably changed...
I highly recommend this film to any and all who are interested in extremely well told and acted dramatic stories that are intellectually and emotionally deep in the telling! {ssintrepid}
Special Features:
-Director's Commentary
-Deleted Scenes with Commentary
-HBO First Look: The Making-Of Girl, Interrupted
-Isolated Music Score
-Theatrical Trailers
-Talent Files
-Production Notes
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on May 12, 2003
This is one of the most poignant and compelling movies in a long time. Angelina Jolie won an oscar for her spectular performance as the movie's title character, the tragic Daisy, a compulsive disturbed mental patient who won't eat anything but chicken from her father's deli. She say's any other food makes her want to puke. Naturally, eating only chicken leaves poor Daisy malnourished and constipated. So a key element in the plot is Daisy's trading drugs to other patients for the highs they want, in exchange for the laxatives Daisy so desperately needs. Night scenes are not shown, but one can only suppose Daisy stumbles around from night blindness. And how she escapes scurvy is quite a mystery. But Daisy's involvement with other patients in their drug exchanges has unwanted side effects. One patient she becomes entangled with is Lisa, institutionalized for anti-social behavior. Lisa is brutal and unscrupulous and Daisy becomes one of the patients that Lisa cruelly taunts. Lisa insinuates that Daisy's father abuses her, a claim not otherwise implied. But Daisy, guilt-ridden over something, is easily brought down by the suggestions. As a narrator and also participant in the story, Susannah, based on the author of the book that inspired the story, is played by Winona Ryder. Despite Susannah's compassionate attempts to intervene on Daisy's behalf, Lisa's taunts precipitate tragedy.
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on August 13, 2002
Very nice movie about a girl who is 17 and in rehab there she meets totally crazy skitzo Lisa and they form a friendship.. very sad at points and very funny at points a must see!
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on June 10, 2003
One otherwise good review incorrectly states that Angelina Jolie plays Daisy in this movie. Jolie plays Lisa, not Daisy. Both Daisy and Lisa are poignant and memorable characters. Jolie deservingly won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her performance. It was Brittany Murphy who plays Daisy, and her more unsung performance is excellent also. Both these characters are doleful and deeply disturbed, but otherwise could hardly be more different. Daisy is obsessed and withdrawn. Lisa is brazen and agressive. It makes indeed a dangerous combination. They are just two of the considerable variety of mental patients that Susannah Kaysen, author of the book of the same name, met during her own stay in the institution. The movie is a vivid story of her trying to sort out her own condition while also dealing with the likes of Lisa and Daisy in their fateful conflicts.
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HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICEon February 26, 2002
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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on April 24, 2005
If this movie wasn't claiming to be a true story, I might have given it 3 stars. I read the book, however, and it's obvious that they changed things. Sure, it makes a better movie, but if they're going to claim that it's a true story, they should have stuck with the truth.

The worst part, however, is the ending. It changes the entire point of the story. In the movie, the "good girl" who more or less goes along with the psychiatric program gets better and gets out. The "bad girl" who doesn't ends up pretty much exactly like the "bad girl" at the end of The Craft: crazed, screaming, and in 4-point restraints.

In the book, the true story, the "good girl" gets released and ends up, eh, okay. Not great, but getting by. Years later, she runs into the "bad girl" who also got released and ended up, eh, okay. Not great, but getting by. To change this ending is utterly inexcusable. It changes absolutely everything the author of the book was trying to tell about what institutions are really like and really accomplish.
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