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Girl, Interrupted

4.4 out of 5 stars 692 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

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.

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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


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

Product Details

  • Actors: Clea Duvall, Angelina Jolie, Brittany Murphy, Winona Ryder, Whoopi Goldberg
  • Directors: James Mangold
  • Producers: Cathy Konrad
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Special Edition, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Dubbed: 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: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (692 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00003CWQR
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,946 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Girl, Interrupted" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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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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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
"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...
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