Top critical review
Was drawn in by the premise but was left wanting more than a SSRI
on June 19, 2016
Reading some of the reviews, it's clear that Prozac Nation is taken as a Rorschach test among viewers, such as those who say the experiences of protagonist Elizabeth (Christina Ricci) spoke to what they have experienced in life. Others note Prozac Nation isn't quite a movie about depression: there is too much else going on (I agree with this assessment). Dramas about mental illness can often be rewarding to sit through, either as edutainment or a method of gauging one's own life, but Prozac Nation is more like watching an author's indulgences... which brings us to the strange part...
Prozac Nation is the apparently true story of Elizabeth Wurtzel, who earned her BA at Harvard and her JD at Yale: no small feat for a mentally unbalanced student. I haven't and will not read her books because (as stated by a NYT book critic in 1994 that was generally positive) "self-pitying passages make the reader want to shake the author, and remind her that there are far worse fates than growing up during the 70's in New York and going to Harvard." Elizabeth brings back some rather unpleasant memories of a girlfriend like her when I was in college for the first time (although I don't claim to have been mentally healthy at the time either).
Unless I am missing some kind of metaphor, Christina Ricci's gratuitous nudity in the beginning served no purpose whatsoever in the story. Maybe it was something about her character's mom barging into the room? Or was it just to sell more DVDs? The latter is the most likely explanation if we are to judge by reviews such as, "Watch the first 15 minutes for Christina completely naked." Perhaps Ricci was stoked about it: another example of a former child star finally getting a role where she can strip down and say to the world, "Look, I'm not a kid anymore!" Alyssa Milano did the same in one of the worst vampire flicks ever made, Embrace of the Vampire (1995). At least Christina Ricci didn't feel the need to get silicone implants to show off in Prozac Nation.
There were some decent scenes or visually enthusiastic moments towards the end; for example, the Challenger explosion occurring as Elizabeth's mother is mugged, Elizabeth's subsequent frank conversation with her mother at home, and Elizabeth's view of the world while newly on Prozac. Overall though, despite the formidable Jessica Lange's substantial role and some okay scenes propelled by Ricci, Prozac Nation is a fairly pointless and annoying flick.