By Amy Meadows Staff writer Directed by James Mangold Written by James Mangold, Lisa Loomer, and Anna Hamilton Phelan based on the memoirs by Susanna Kaysen With Winona Ryder, Angelina Jolie, Clea Du Vall, Brittany Murphy, Elizabeth Moss, Jared Leto, Jeffrey Tambor, Vanessa Redgrave, Whoopi Goldberg Mental illness: if all else fails to be entertaining, throw in some crazy people to liven things up. Saddled with a weak plot, the film rests on conflicts between the characters to maintain dramatic credibility.Although compelling and even visually arresting, Girl, Interrupted comes across as simply melodramatic.Girl, Interrupted does its best to exploit the strange conflicts that occur in a mental hospital, but falls short of doing the job of making a compelling movie.
As the adaptation of Susanna Kaysen’s memoir, the movie portrays the psychological struggles of Susanna (Winona Ryder).
A privileged teenager, Kaysen is diagnosed with an unclear personality disorder after a suicide attempt and placed in a mental hospital.
Overall, the movie has little in the way of substantial plot and is filled with melodrama.
However, there is decent (though not spectacular) acting, and some details that make the movie worthwhile.
Also, the use of lighting provides an amazing tone to most of the movie, while the colors and shadows of night-time scenes set a very clear mood.
The use of shadows is highly reminiscent of black and white movies for fostering tension and tragedy.As she copes with therapy, Susanna not only struggles to heal herself, but struggles to define what is wrong with her.In the best moments of the movie, Winona Ryder brings depth and intensity to the vulnerability of her character.Unfortunately, some of the worst moments are those in which she tries to be strong, which come across as disjointed.For example, Susanna’s choice to go back to the mental institution instead of going to Canada with her pseudo-boyfriend (Toby, played by Jared Leto) seems strangely out of place.Perhaps these scenes appear disjointed because most of the movie is filled with so much angst.Other characters, notably sociopath Lisa (Angelina Jolie), provide an increasingly varied range of believable emotions.Susanna Kaysen is an eighteen year old that has been placed in a mental hospital ‘Claymoore’ after an attempted suicide.However, Susana is in denial of attempting suicide and claims that she drank the bottle of aspirin and bottle of vodka to cure her head ache.Surprisingly, though, one of the most complex characters is one of the most minor.Daisy, played by Brittany Murphy of Clueless fame, is not so much insane as compulsive or even just odd.