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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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Actress Winona Ryder stars as Susana, a troubled teenager whose confused attempt at suicide lands her in a mental hospital. Once there, she meets an odd assortment of patients, and hospital saff. One patient named Lisa, (Angelina Jolie), in particular, surprises Susana with her uninhibited demeanor. The pair form a tight bond, but that connection is threatened when Lisa begins to spiral even further out of control. Even as Dr. Melvin Potts (Jeffery Tambor), Dr. Sonia Wick, (Vanessa Redgrave), and Valerie Owens, RN (Whoppi Goldberg) offer both obstacle and assistance to Susana.
Directed by James Mangold, the film is a sobering look at what this period in Susana life was like at the time. While the movie is obviously geared more to a female audience, Jolie and Ryder are so effective here, that my concerns of "chick flick-itis" were really unwarranted. Given the nature of the plot, it's impossible not to compare the film to other movies of this type, but it's really able to stand on its own.
The DVD boasts a solid audio commentary from Mangold. He discusses the filmming process, his approach to the material, and on set tidbits. Mangold also offer comments about a series of deleted scenes that were wisely cut, but stiil ineresting to see nonetheless. You can also hear the film's score on an isolated track if you like. There's also an HBO First Look Special that's the most fluffy extra on the disc and has and everything on it you might expect from something like this. Production notes and the theatrical trailer round out the bonus material.
Not just for the ladies, Girl Interruppted, works because of Jolie, who, along with her turn in the HBO telefilm Gia, proved she can do it all as an actress.
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Just as gritty as I remembered. Everybody played their roles to the hilt. Lots of great moments - Angelina really steals the show with her electrifying barbs - her character just... Read morePublished 12 months ago by V. Rudd