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Girl, Interrupted

movie reviewmovie reviewvideo review out of 4 Movie Review: Girl, Interrupted

Starring: Winona Ryder, Angelina Jolie
Director: James Mangold
Rated: R
RunTime: 127 Minutes
Release Date: January 2000
Genre: Drama

*Also starring: Whoopi Goldberg, Vanessa Redgrave, Clea Duvall, Brittany Murphy, Elizabeth Moss, Jared Leto, Jeffrey Tambor, Travis Fine

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Review by Susan Granger
2 stars out of 4

Back in the '60s, 17 year-old Susanna Kaysen wound up in Claymoore, an upscale psychiatric hospital in Massachusetts, for more than a year and used that experience to write a novel which fascinated doe-eyed actress Winona Ryder enough to option it and make it into this movie - in which she, of course, plays the dour, dreamy title role. It's an episodic memoir, at best, showcasing the acting acumen of Ms. Ryder as the passive, indecisive Susanna and, even more, Angelina Jolie as a ferociously vicious sociopath, along with Clea DuVall as a pathological liar, Elizabeth Moss as a severely scarred burn victim, and Brittany Murphy as a pampered, rich girl with an eating disorder and an overly attentive father. Vanessa Redgrave is impressive as the chief psychiatrist. Problem is, Susanna Kaysen's confused mental state, diagnosed as Borderline Personality Disorder, is much like that of a lot of female adolescents - confused about her self-image, uncertain about her long-term goals, and struggling to make sense of a rapidly changing world around her. Directed by James Mangold (Heavy, Cop Land) from a script co-written by him, Lisa Loomer and Anna Hamilton Phelan, the implausibly detached, humorless narrative examines the boundaries between confinement and freedom, friendship and betrayal, madness and sanity, evolving into a female version of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest with no group dynamic. As a result, there's no emotional involvement. On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, Girl, Interrupted is a sappy, superficial, frustrating 5. At one point, Whoopi Goldberg, as her no-nonsense nurse, tells whiny Susanna Kaysen, "You are a lazy, self-indulgent little girl who is driving herself crazy." Right on, Whoopi!

Copyright 2000 Susan Granger

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