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Girl, Interrupted

by

Jeff Nelson

Girl, Interrupted may not appeal to all audiences, but is most definitely worth seeing.

Girl, Interrupted
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The book and film One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest are both clearly masterpieces. However, the film Girl, Interrupted can easily be described as a counterpart, but with female patients instead of male. Both films are strikingly similar in terms of characters, 'illnesses', power struggles, control, and many other themes. James Mangold adapts the film to the big screen from the book written by Susanna Kaysen.

Diagnosed with borderline personality disorder, Susanna Kaysen gets sent to a mental institution for a short stay but spends the next year avoiding her fears, descending into the twisted world of people who truly belong in the institution. As mentioned in the introduction, this film has quite a few similarities to One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. While the twists and turns are predictable, it's about the ride getting there than the actual twists themselves. The screenplay is decent and creates a variety of different dimensions to the characters. There are some cliché moments that seep through, but they're in small doses that don't take too much away from the film. The pacing allows for the story to move along very quickly and keep the attention of the viewers.

The greatest asset of the film is surely the cast. Winona Ryder performs as Susanna Kaysen. She has been criticized for having a 'small' performance here. Her role doesn't have many times her character explodes in anger or sadness. Ryder performs as a rather normal person and does a great job at it. Not all moviegoers recognize acting when it's not for an emotionally broken role. Angelina Jolie is Lisa Rowe and is phenomenal. She rightfully won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. This is perhaps one of Jolie's best performances. Brittany Murphy is Daisy Randone. Her role isn't as demanding as Jolie's and doesn't receive as much screen time as Ryder, but pulls her own weight very well. The most important aspect of chemistry is present throughout. I can feel the character's friendships and it feels natural.

Almost the entire film takes place in the mental institution. Not all of the character's backgrounds are explored, but much of their characteristics are explained through behavior and appearance. Don't expect any outrageous action scenes here. The film focuses on the characters and their journey in the mental institution.

After reading quite a few negative reviews on Girl, Interrupted, I was hesitant in watching it. I couldn't disagree more with the reviews that I read before viewing the film. This is by no means a masterpiece, but it's a good film. The performances are incredible and draw the viewer into the movie even more. Girl, Interrupted may not appeal to all audiences, but is most definitely worth seeing.

My Rating = Four Stars

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