February 2000
Another featured film we think you might want to see!

This month, a film featuring Winona Ryder, Jared Leto and Angelina Jolie:
Girl, Interrupted














Girl, Interrupted (1999)
Directed by James Mangold

cast :

Winona Ryder ... Susanna Kaysen
Angelina Jolie ... Lisa
Clea DuVall ... Georgina
Brittany Murphy ... Daisy
Elizabeth Moss ... Polly
Jared Leto ... Tobias Jacobs
Jeffrey Tambor ... Dr. Potts
Vanessa Redgrave ... Dr. Wick
Whoopi Goldberg ... Valerie
Mary Kay Place ... Mrs. Gilcrest
Travis Fine ... John
Jillian Armenante ... Cynthia
Steve Altes ... Medic
Joanna Kerns ... Mrs. Kaysen
Alessandro Fabrizi ... Sergeant Baggio

Written by Susanna Kaysen and James Mangold
Rated R

Girl, Interrupted (1999) reviewed by Lisa Benecke


The year is 1967 , Susanna Kaysen (Winona Ryder) is dazed and confused about life. She's the only senior not going on to college although she does want to become a writer one day. She attempts suicide, fails and is sent off to Claymoore by her parents. Claymoore's a Boston psychiatric ward with several colorful patients.

Girl, Interrupted chronicles Susanna's 18-month stay at Claymoore and at times, it's an intriguing one. Though she seems almost monotonous compared to the extravagant preformances of some of the other characters.

At first, she is able to see she is dissimilar to most of the other residents. Her roommate Georgina (Clea DuVall)is a pathalogical liar who lives in a fantasy world, Polly (Elizabeth Moss) lives with disfigurement from a self inflicted childhood crisis, and "daddy's girl" Daisy (Brittany Murphy) who suffers an odd eating disorder.

Soon after Susanna has arrived, in waltzes Lisa (Angelina Jolie), a long-time patient who has been caught attempting to escape again. Lisa plays the charismatic sociopath with whom Susanna forms a close bond. Jolie's preformance is definatly an attention getter and outstands Ryder's more subtle role. But both the girls roles work well with each other to achieve most of what the film is working at.


It's the job of Valerie (Whoopi Goldberg), the head nurse, to keep them all in line. Goldberg evokes an important amount of warmth as the most caring nurse by the wing and teaches Susanna a few lessons about herself. Jared Leto makes a few fleeting but well done preformances as Susanna's past boyfriend. He shows up at the ward in one scene offering to whisk Susanna away on a trip to Canada but she decides to stay because of her newfound freinds she has made. You go back to Susanna's past in a few sequential flashbacks of her painfull past that built up to her current situation. Through therapy and her experiences with fellow patients Susanna gradually comes to understand the nature of her condition and determines to overcome it.

Ryder preformance is subtle and quiet, but all the more genuinely real because of it, and the internal conflicts you sense she is going through are something many teenagers and twentysomethings will be able to identify with.

Brittany Murphy plays a noteably outstanding preformance as Daisy. Much more serious and mature than some of her previous roles such as in Clueless Daisy is checked out of the hospital by her father and given an apartment to live in, despite her obviously not being prepared to face the outside world.

In the most powerful sequence in the film, Susanna and Lisa run away from Claymoore and travel to stay with Daisy for the night, but things take a turn for the worse when the girls realize that Daisy is still just a depressed and frightened girl who is not well enough to be taking care of herself, and who is set up for a very serious fall.

The plot of the movie itself dosen't seem to tell a lot. Most of the story is taken up with the interactions between the patients, as Susanna learns the system, records her observations, and slowly comes to decide that "madness" is not the route she wants to take.

The confrontational climax, set in the basement of the hospital, when Lisa and some of the other girls angerly confront Susanna about the things she had written in her personal journal. I think it failed to match the spirit of its preceding scenes,but was saved by the preformances of the actresses.


Girl, Interrupted provides genuine and gripping insights into aspects of humanity which are revealing, extraordinary and sometimes very funny. Although I do think it is directed to more of a mature audience due to some of its more dramatic scenes and issues portrayed.

The movie is based on the true story experiences of the book by author Susanna Kaysen. Along with a groovy 60's music soundtrack this film is greatly compelling and disturbingly real and is definatly worth seeing. I give it 4 stars.


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