Movie and Film Reviews (MFR) Drama Girl Interrupted (1999)

Girl Interrupted (1999)


Angelina Jolie

Winona Ryder

Brittany Murphy

Vanessa Redgrave

Whoopi Goldberg

Jared Leto

The Movie

It’s the 60’s!  Susanna (Winona Ryder) is institutionalised by her prudish parents for taking a full bottle of aspirin and washing it down with a bottle of vodka.  She is presented to her new ‘home’ by Nurse Valerie (Whoopi Goldberg).  Susanna’s first love is smoking and she introduces her ‘french’ cigarettes to her roommate, Clea (Georgina Tuskin) who is probably the least disturbed of the patients in the womens ward of the local mental institution.  She’s a pathological liar.  Daisy (Brittany Murphy) is a bulimic and has far more issues.  Her father brings her loads of grilled chickens which she scoffs and then trades laxatives with fellow patients.  Lisa (Angelina Jolie), a sociopath, makes an entrance after one of her many escapes.  Susanna soon learns that Lisa is the ‘leader of the pack’ and a strange yet strong friendship is formed between them.  In the interim, Susanna is being treated for her border line personality disorder with medication and therapy.  Her sessions are with the Head psychiatrist, Dr Wick (Vanessa Redgrave) but stubborness overtakes Susanna and she refuses to speak about her problems.  The strength of Susanna and Lisa’s friendship is tested when Susanna’s love interest before being admitted comes to visit her at the institution.  The hold Lisa has on Susanna is so strong that she chooses Lisa over Toby (Jared Leto).  Susanna also finds comfort in her journal and throughout her stay she records events and her feelings toward her fellow inmates in the journal.  This proves catastrophic when Lisa finds and reads the journal.  The highlight of Susanna’s stay is when she and Lisa run away from the institution.

An All Star Cast 

This is a raw rendition of an 18 year old girl who hits the pause button in her young life.  It’s during this pause-mode that she learns and grows.  She discovers herself through her inmates and is able to heal all her woes.  As the title of the movie depicts, she is just a Girl Interrupted.

Winona Ryder portrays her character superbly.  Audiences will feel her despair as she shifts from one aspect of her personality to another.  Audiences too will delight in her eventual restoration.  Angelina Jolie embraces her role and what comes out is acting at its very best.  As a result, she received many awards for her role as Lisa including an Oscar and Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Supporting Role.  What a pity Ryder didn’t receive the same acclaim!  Brittany Murphy shines as the hugely unbalanced Daisy.  Her denial and loneliness is so heartfelt that her ultimate release is welcomed.  Hats off to Goldberg and Redgrave for their sterling and credible portrayals of nurse and psychiatrist respectively.

The Writer

The movie is based on the novel written by Susanna Kaysen, whom Ryder portrays.  Kaysen puts pen to paper recalling her admittance to a mental institution and what follows is a powerful movie, receiving all the accolades it so rightfully deserves.


We’ve all reached a crossroad sometime in our lives so we can all relate one way or another to this compelling story.  Hard core reality!  Get the dvd!  It’s worth every penny!

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