Girl, Interrupted - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Girl, Interrupted Reviews

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Super Reviewer
July 18, 2007
There's little new in this Hollywood look at mental illness, female style, except that for once the staff is actually given a little respect, like they might know a little about what they're doing. The obvious segues into overblown hysteria are avoided for the most part and the whole affair is not too distasteful.
Super Reviewer
March 17, 2007
Based on the autobiographical novel by Susanna Kayson chronicling her time spent in a mental institution following a suicide attempt, Girl, Interrupted is not quite what you'd expect; namely "One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest For Chicks". It's true that the story is dominated by Jolie's Oscar winning turn as the rebelliously anti-social yet charismatic Lisa, but the story is a lot more sympathetic towards the staff of the hospital and what they were trying to do. The cast of likeable weirdos make for an engaging bunch of misfits which makes up for the fact that it lacks any real kind of power or emotional resonance and it's nicely non-judgemental when it comes to the depiction of both the inmates and the staff who are genuinely trying to help them. Hardly the most challenging portrait of mental illness but enjoyable none the less.
Super Reviewer
November 28, 2008
Sometimes the only way to stay sane is to go a little crazy

Good Film! It was a very well made film with some terrific acting. Angelina Jolie in probably her best role as an actress won her an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress in that year. Good plot although a little too slow for my taste but decent enough.

Susanna is depressed and directionless after finishing high school in the late 1960's. A suicide attempt lands her in Claymore, a mental institution. She befriends the band of troubled women in her ward (Georgina the pathological liar, the sexually abused Daisy, the burn victim Polly) but falls under the hypnotic sway of Lisa, the wildest and most hardened of the bunch. Will Susanna "drop anchor" at Claymore and perpetually act out like Lisa, or will she finally pull her mind together and leave institutional life behind?
Super Reviewer
January 1, 2011
Surprised by the low critic ratings. I for one thought this was a really good film. Solid story, good characters, and wonderful performances from Ryder and Jolie who won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress. I recommend it!
Super Reviewer
January 23, 2007
the film was great until the very rocky ending, and the acting was solid with a compelling story. the film suffers from poor rewatchability, but its a solid view and worth watching jolie's oscar turn.
Super Reviewer
December 10, 2007
it's been cliche to note that "girl, interrupted" is the female version of "one flew over the cuckoo's nest" (starriing jack nicholson in 1975, adapted from ken kesy's countercultural classic in the sixties) or compare angelina jolie as the female jack nicholson (letting alone the facts she has been impeccably beautiful, glaringly rebellious, luringly frail, brilliantly talented at the early age of 24 when this film was made.)...also, it is no fresh news that the whole female crew in this pictures are all lesbians (except winona ryder and brittany murphy, i think), literally a house of sapphos!

let's tackle into the parallels between girl, interrupted and one flew over the cuckoo's nest. the analogous facts are, both novels were about the countercultural sixties (except susanna kaysen only published this memoir in 1993. but kesey's work had roused the waves of youth-identification at its time). both stories are about people who got forcily trapped in the nut house and desperate to break free of THE SYSTEM, and the camaderie between the patients in the process of fighting off the evil system. in a short, the major difference between these two works is about the separate ways man and woman choose to adapt in the course of their rebellions, let's say in a professional terms, the diverse forms of male and female transgressions, which furtherly prove the futility of women's countercultural revolts.

to begin with, let's look into the sketch of one flew over the cuckoo's nest, whose main spirit is to defy the system represented by the psycho-bitch big nurse.both the novel and the movie emphasize upon the protagonist's individualistic backbone through his reckless laughter. we witness a man who falsifies insanity to escape the justice of law, a man who doesn't give a damn to the instuitions of law or medical system, a man who shows his contempts toward the system: he, a sane invidual, could get away from the law by faking insanity successfully, and such action proves the invalidity of mental health instituition. also, he could manage to flee off the nut-house if he doesn't choose to stay there to choke the big-nurse just to avenge his pal, whose last trace of manhood gets devastated by this mighty evil bitch! for this, he gets lobotomized!

as for girl, interrupted, susanna kaysen was really suffering from mental illness, and she chose to follow the will of her parents to sign herself in. she penned diaries criticizing her inmates till she met the volcanic lisa who led her into a series acts of delinquency. the worst things these girls did were just drugging the janitor to steal musical instrument to sing songs to console a girl with disfigured face. despite everyone was so enchanted, in the mean time intimidated by the wild lisa, susanna kept her distance, remaining her detachment from her so-called "good friend". women just hurt each other. lisa humuliated the laxative-addict daisy who sadly hanged herself after the insult. susanna also wounded lisa by announcing "she's already dead on the inside" so she could tear lisa's sharp ego apart then beat her up in the last moment.(retribution, retribution, women are simply mean to each other.)

women, on the contrary, demonstrated their attachment to the system. susanna chose to sign herself in; lisa needed the system to break free and get herself locked off again and again just for some kicks; daisy used it as a middle ground to sustain her abnormal relationship with her father. women, in this case, were no genuine rebels, but lost girls who needed some rebellious excuses to justify their own actions, which had really nothing to do with the countercultural temperament of nineteen sixties, but private chamber-room affairs accelerated by the glossy idea of free love. beside that, there's no really big enemy like cuckoo's big nurse to fight against, and what they fight against is just their jealousy toward each other. (constantly one girl is sour when the other girl gets released from the mental hospital) the end, susanna kaysen has to play the goody-goody to get herself released from this nut-house. my question is: what made her consider herself superior to other mentally disordered girls while herself was also an inmate? and why she didn't release this memoir until the 90s? afraid to offend those who used to stay in the same room with her? she's the biggest hypocrite to me! she wrote this memoir and got it published to assert she was a woman with individuality, who lived through this unusual circumstance of life, but wouldn't her case just prove that women prefer to be dominated, lectured, tamed and docilized, and they're not individuals but naughty girls who need some spankings from the big daddy to behave themselves???

taken all together, one flew over the cuckoo's nest is a case of men united together to fight against the vile system, which is embodiment through a misogynistic figure: the big nurse; girl, interrupted is an example of women jeopardizing each other, using up each means, even cooperating with the system to hurt their foes, fellow women. (men here are the lucky bystanders who get many gratuitous laids) quite often, i wonder why counterculture wouldn't work on women. here is a perfect case. women involved in countercultural movements were usually countercultural men's sex slaves, whom the men ditched after sex, and "brilliant woman with the capacity to appreciate the genius man" is just a vacant honor to justify such gender exploitation. what did those women do then? fuck-bodies who occasionally talked politics and culture with the men when they were not too loaded on booze and weeds.
Super Reviewer
June 23, 2011
Found this fim exceptional. Angelina Jolie and Wiona Ryder were amazing actresses and it's a must watch!
Super Reviewer
February 20, 2011
Girl interrupted is about a women stay in a mental hospital. At first she makes friends with the wrong group of women and she also rebels. She does not see away out of the mental illness. She kept on going down that path until she gets a reality check. Will she stay in mental hospital forever or would she be able to go home.
Good acting and plot
Really moving film
It really shows what mental illness can do to u and what it is like in a mental hospital.
This film is a real eye opener on mental illness.
If u like a good drama u should give this a try
Super Reviewer
½ April 4, 2007
Although it boasts a killer script, adapted from the memoir by Susanna Kaysen, Girl, Interrupted's iconic female cast is what makes this film so riveting. Winona Ryder as Kaysen, Angelina Jolie in her scene-stealing (and Oscar-winning ) role of Lisa, Brittany Murphy (a humongous talent we lost recently), Clea DuVall, Elisabeth Moss, Whoopi Goldberg: all deliver excellent performances and originate a very interesting dynamic between them. Jared Leto is solid as the only male element among the cast worth mentioning. Veers a little toward melodrama in the end, but it's still a classic.
Super Reviewer
September 8, 2007
A mostly by the book depiction of an insane asylum and those that reside in it, namely a suicidal recent high school graduate (Winona Ryder) and an unpredictable, power-hungry manipulator (Angelina Jolie). The only thing that elevates this thing above standard Lifetime melodrama is Jolie's Oscar-winning performance, which is indeed special and causes the viewer to be more inclined to watch what is going on. Although Ryder also gives a fine performance as well, this movie really starts to take a nosedive at its conclusion, which is too overloaded with drama to be taken seriously, and the result is something mildly disappointing. Think a poor man's "One Flew Over the Cuckoo Nest" with excellent performances and pretty well-rounded characters, but an ultimately unsatisfying conclusion that could have been better captured.
Super Reviewer
February 13, 2008
Susanna: [narrating] Have you ever confused a dream with life? Or stolen something when you have the cash? Have you ever been blue? Or thought your train moving while sitting still? Maybe I was just crazy. Maybe it was the 60`s. Or maybe I was just a girl.......... interrupted.
Girl, Interrupted has some good performances, and Angelina Jolie even throws in an Oscar caliber performance as the wild child of the mental hospital i thought she was brillant !
Super Reviewer
April 4, 2010
In a world of being unsure, depressed, and slightly insane, you are forced to journey into the minds of those locked away from society, either because they are truly out of their heads, or standards of the day interfere. It's hard to tell these apart until the climax reveals all very encompassingly.
Super Reviewer
½ July 27, 2010
"Was I ever crazy? Maybe. Or maybe life is."

Based on the non-fiction novel of the same name, Girl, Interrupted is about a young woman in the 60's named Susanna (Winona Ryder) who is encouraged by her parents to enter a mental institution for a short time after she attempts to commit suicide. As the short stay ends up turning into a much longer one, Susanna has to make an actual attempt to deal with her issues, or risk becoming like the near-permanent residents of mental hospital she a patient in.

Most of this non-linear movie revolves around Susanna's relationships with the women she meets during her stay, including the volatile and sociopathic Lisa (Angelina Jolie), anti-social Daisy (Brittany Murphy), with her odd fixations, and child-like Polly (Elisabeth Moss). I don't know how accurate each woman's behaviors were to their actual conditions, but it was interesting seeing that what Susanna says at one point during the movie was actually true; that the people in the hospital really did and wanted the same things that we all do, only to an extreme.

I hope I'm not making Girl, Interrupted sound like some documentary on mental health, because that's not what it is at all. It's about one young woman and how her stay in this place with these women changed her and how she handled her own life. I thought it was pretty good. It portrays its subject matter frankly but respectfully, and the story doesn't drown in melodrama or sentimentality, as this kind of movie easily could have. Ryder, Jolie, and the rest of the cast were all great, and my attention was held from beginning to end. Recommended.
Super Reviewer
June 12, 2010
I've watched this few years ago and I kinda like this. Not a big fan of any of the actor/actress but this was pretty nice as far as I can remember.
Super Reviewer
½ May 23, 2010
Quite angsty and cathartic, but I am shocked that Winona Ryder didn't get nominated even for a Golden Globe! Angelina is good, but the role is just edgy in the bucking-for-an-Oscar kind of way. Lisa's bombastic character overshadows Susanna's "straight" character, but Winona's gaze and voice show more range and have more shades.
Super Reviewer
½ September 9, 2007
i actually quite liked this movie its very entertaining with a very good performances especially from Jolie!
Its an interesting storyline thats intriguing and fun to watch, its funny but also a good drama thats really worth a watch!!
Super Reviewer
January 18, 2010
I would say that this has one of the best ensemble female performances. The story isn't exactly air tight and it lacks some directorial imagination, but most of that can be forgotten when you have such compelling characters to work with. Angelina Jolie and Winona Ryder especially give some of their best performances.
Super Reviewer
May 24, 2009
I was rather impressed by this. All of the actresses just did stellar performances.
Super Reviewer
December 27, 2009
Let's be honest for a moment. As humanity settles itself into a new millennium, there are so many aspects of life which we remain ignorant about. One aspect in particular is the realm of the human mind. With countless philosophical theories designed to explain the interaction between the brain and the body, science is still at a major loss to explain it. In the modern world we deal with the mentally ill through discussion and pumping them full of drugs. It's a practise which has been in use for decades in one form or another and it remains a practise which treats the ill with a varied degree of success.

If we look back in time at the 1960s however, the process was of a similar format. People would be locked in an institute, pumped full of drugs, and often for the simple fact that their behaviour was different to the social climate. "Girl, Interrupted" was a book written by a woman who experienced this case of affairs and whilst altered slightly in story, the film adaptation is a brilliant story which raises more questions about mental health, than it cares to answer.

Susanna Kaysen (Winona Ryder) is a "promiscuous" rebel who spends her time depressed and pondering her death. With an alternative point of view to people of her time (but a mind-scape that most modern teenage Goths would probably agree with) she finds herself placed in a mental hospital. There she meets interesting people, both doctors and patients, as she tries to come to terms with her own mind.

Sometimes labelled as the female equivalent of "One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest", "Girl, Interrupted" is a clever film which leaves you questioning your mental health throughout. Based on the book by Susanna Kaysen, it has insider information giving it a solid basis.

In the lead role, Winona Ryder gives perhaps her finest performance to date as she questions everything around her before she begins to question herself. Whether she ever really needs the hospital in the first place, or whether it does her any good or not, is open to interpretation, but from the first moments of the film, she keeps us involved with the character and never allows us to stop caring about her.

In a mirror image of Ryder, Angelina Jolie plays the sociopathic Lisa. Coming from a broken home, Lisa is another of these characters who you find it very difficult to understand just how sane she is. Jolie manages to give the character an air of menace throughout the film, whether friendly or aggressive. She provides a solid character, and whilst Ryder arguably deserved more award recognition for her role, Jolie is definitely worthy of the Best Supporting Actress Oscar which she won with this role.

Both women's superb performances are also helped by some great acting by the rest of the cast. Including an impressive Brittany Murphy, Clea DuVall, Whoopi Goldberg, Jared Leto and Vanessa Redgrave, the acting is always above standard and hard to fault.

In a time of social revolution, there was (as is ever) a thin line between genius and insanity. Whilst people like Martin Luther King changed the world, there were others who were locked up for mental instability. Whether they were truly insane or not is a difficult question to answer. But set at this time of great importance, it is magnificent films like "Girl, Interrupted" that ironically open our minds and get us thinking. Highly recommended.
Super Reviewer
March 6, 2009
"Sometimes the only way to stay sane is to go a little crazy"

Based on writer Susanna Kaysen's account of her 18-month stay at a mental hospital in the 1960s.

If you like character driven plots, then this movie will pull you in. The story is good, although I could tell that it had been converted from a book. The character developments occasionally make jumps implying that something is missing. However, the skillful writing keeps these discontinuities minor, and they are easily overcome by the incredible acting. I gained new respect for Angelina Jolie as an actress when I saw this movie, and Winona Ryder outshines even Angelina's performance. By the end of the movie, we feel we really know the characters, which is impressive considering how complex and dynamic they are.
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