I came to the film with low expectations. I was simply stunned by how good it was. Angelina Jolie is an absolutely PHENOMENAL actress. Her performance alone is worth watching the movie for. But unlike show-stoppers like Marissa Tomei in "My Cousin Vinnie," merely shines the brightest light in a luminescent cast. The cinematography was innovative, but not distractingly so-- "Girl Interupted" shines primarily for its dramatic power, not as a mind-blowing work of art. It will not explode your vision of the mundane world in the same way that "American Beauty" might, but it will certainly probe you to question your way of seeing the world-- at least psychologically. Winona Ryder challenged my preconception of her, and proved herself as more than a pretty-girl. Her performance was convincing as Suzanna, a confused high-school graduate who is eloquent and insightful on paper yet unable to a rticulate her own desperate melancholy. The movie takes place primarily in the women's ward of a mental institution and follows the dynamic friendship between Lisa (Jolie's character) and Suzanna. Lisa is a kinetic, dynamic personality who cuts right to the "truth" of things. Her "truth" knows no boundaries and she is a controlling person prone to violence. Her piercing insights about people and social recklessness led to her to be institutionalized as a sociopath. This is not a depressing film. Rather, it is suprisingly life-affirming. Not cloying, not sacherine, but not inpenetrably dark, either. Anyone seeking an angst-ridden portrayal of abuses in mental institutions should check out Jack Nicholson's "One Flew Over the Cuckoos nest." This film has little of the violent anger of that old classic. Yet it does echo some of the ebulience, the defiance of authority and embracing of freedom at sometimes incalculable cost. Performances by Whoppie Goldberg (in a serious and nuanced role) and Vanessa Redgrave were excellent, as expected. With the exception of a few holywood gimmicks, predictable cuts and music, this is a nearly flawless film. Dead-on dramatically, and excellently scripted and based on an eloquent true-story by Suzana Keisen, this movie offers a glimpse of one intensely personal experience of truth. Without the quotation marks, dark cynicism, or pretensions that revelation so frequently entails.
Biography / Drama
Biography / Drama
Based on writer Susanna Kaysen's account of her 18-month stay at a mental hospital in the late 1960s.
September 26, 2020