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Girl, Interrupted

Winona Ryder , Angelina Jolie , James Mangold    R (Restricted)   VHS Tape
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (233 customer reviews)

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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


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beyond crazy Dec 15 2013
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
The young and beautiful ladies, Winona and Angelina. Wow! Couple of great woman preformed such a touching story based on true events. Hats off to you, ladies.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ANGELINA AT HER BEST Aug. 21 2013
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
"Girl Interrupted" is probably the best acting job Angelina Joie has ever played. She was great in "Gina" but somehow more evil and certainly psychologically off her rocker in this one. When you compare this to the action flicks she does these days, her acting is so much more intense, more real, better, somehow.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Love the acting May 15 2013
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Angelina Jolie is so great as the psychopathic blond. Unbelieveable! I had to buy the movie to watch her again.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Comedy Drama Aug. 13 2002
Format:VHS Tape
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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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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5.0 out of 5 stars Best female bonding movie since Thelma and Louise March 19 2002
Format:DVD
Criticism has been aimed at Girl, Interrupted for several reasons. One is the accusation that the mental institution it is set in is couldn't have existed in the real world, but I don't agree. Another is that the illnesses the girls suffer from are not clearly defined. I don't think that that's relevant because very few viewers have much understanding of the definition of any mental illness, despite all the pop journalism TV shows that profess to give us knowledge of such things. What I do think is that Girl, Interrupted may be the strongest major American movie about the female psyche since Thelma and Louise. As such, it's appeal is mainly to women and to enlightened men.
The movie begins in 1968, which for America was not so unlike the present. We were a polarized country, torn apart by ethical and moral differences. The external forces were different from those at work today, but the feelings and responses were often the same. Much of America was again trying to disprove the axiom that money doesn't buy happiness. Youth in general was alienated, and the general consensus was that some power apart from the family needed to fix these kids. So when young Susanna Kaysen [Winona Ryder] gets overwhelmed by despair and attempts suicide, the solution is a typical one for her times. She is sent to a mental institution. It is true that there were plenty of mentally ill people in 1968, but it can also be argued that in crazy times, some people go crazy in response. These people are what is known as borderlines, neither crazy nor sane. Susanna, whose story is a true one, is an example of this problem, and she is but one of millions of people.
In the institution, Susanna meets a fascinating set of characters, most of whom are certifiably mentally ill.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Don't interupt this girl Nov. 13 2000
Format:DVD
This is a great movie! The acting is subtle yet powerful and the story is dynamic and moving. This is a must see for Jolie and Ryder fans. Brittany Murphy also gives an inspired performance. I really recommend this movie to girls 15 and up. Most women can relate to what one or more of the charactors go through. Men also can gain valuable insights into the mind of the opposite sex by watching this film.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Sleep, Interrupted Sept. 27 2000
Format:DVD
Just when I thought I could drift off, someone would make a loud noise in Girl, Interrupted and wake me up. Too bad. In typical "let's-make-a-star" fashion, the Angelina Jolie bandwagon has kicked into high gear, enough to generate an Oscar for her portrayal of your typical bad-girl-with-good-heart character in this film (despite SO many more worthy supporting turns this year). And, as usual when compared with Jolie, no one else is quite given any credit. The only reason to give this film a try is to watch the rest of the supporting cast. When they are onscreen, this otherwise typical tale of finding oneself comes alive...and unfortunately, those moments are far too brief and few and far between. Winona Ryder is far more impressive than Jolie in her portrayal of an unsick girl who is labeled because she is indecisive. It is her character that is worth caring about in this film, not Jolie's, who is entirely one-dimensional here. You can see her "Great Change" coming a mile away. This film is far too on-the-nose to resonate in any way.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars much more
Wynona Ryder has always been one of my all time favs. People always say this is a chick flick but it's much more than that. Read more
Published on May 29 2008 by Horror Girl 79
5.0 out of 5 stars Mesmerizing, emotionally powerful, and unforgettable
What can you say, really? Girl, Interrupted is just a magnificent motion picture boasting some awe-inspiring performances by Winona Rider, the incomparable Angelina Jolie (who... Read more
Published on July 10 2006 by Daniel Jolley
4.0 out of 5 stars One Flew over the Girl
Of course any movie made about people in a psychiatric ward will resemble the classic 'One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest'. Read more
Published on July 5 2004 by M. Buisman
5.0 out of 5 stars It gives you a new look on how normal some people are.
This is one of the most brilliant movies. The acting is superb, and the story grabs you. Angelina Jolie and Wynona Ryder do really good performances. Read more
Published on June 7 2004 by Ryne Williams
5.0 out of 5 stars BORDERLINE PERSONALITY DISORDER
Girl Interrupted was on last tonight. You know when the shoplifter reads about BORDERLINE PERSONALITY DISORDER? What a revelation! Read more
Published on April 30 2004 by Stephen F. Sharp
3.0 out of 5 stars Ambivalent Little Women
This drama focuses the coming-of-age story of Susana (Winona Ryder), a young girl who`s in the last years of adolescence and still doesn`t know what to do in the future. Read more
Published on April 23 2004 by gonn1000
5.0 out of 5 stars A film that really messes with your head
Girl, Interrupted is beyond excellent. This film seemed to have brought out the finest acting in Angelina Jolie and Winona Ryder, for their performences seemed wholehearted. Read more
Published on March 26 2004 by Alejandra Elle
5.0 out of 5 stars VERY HIGH QUALITY
This is the one of very few movies I can watch time and time again. Every time you can see something new in it. Read more
Published on March 16 2004 by Boris Zubry
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent movie
I love this movie. I especially thought angelina Jolie did a great job. quite a sad ending, though.
Published on March 1 2004
4.0 out of 5 stars I'd Call It A "Coming of Age" Story...
... It's just that this one deals with messed-up girls in a mental clinic. Winona's character goes through a mental transformation during her stay in the clinic that effectively... Read more
Published on Feb. 29 2004 by miles@riverside
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