Girl, Interrupted (1999)


Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBB.5

Germany/USA, 1999Columbia Pictures Corporation, Red Wagon Entertainment, Global Entertainment Productions GmbH & Company Medien KG.  Screenplay by James Mangold, , , based on the book by .  Cinematography by .  Produced by , .  Music by .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by .  

Some audience members might resist this all-girl version of One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, but it is often a delicate and touching portrayal of adolescent unhappiness. Winona Ryder gives her finest performance to date as real-life Susanna Kaysen, whose experiences in a private mental institution during the late sixties were the subject of her highly successful autobiography. Director James Mangold has done a fine job in fashioning a fluid narrative from a her character study, and his work is effective most when he emphasizes telling the story from within the main character’s point of view. Ryder’s realizations are quite moving; her first major step in facing her problem while standing in the middle of the parking lot with draft dodger boyfriend Toby () is probably the most heartbreaking scene in the whole film. The supporting cast is not to be overlooked, including  as a sociopath who has been in the institution for eight years and doesn’t show signs of being released any time soon. Others in the ensemble include  as pathological liar Georgina,  as burn victim Polly, and, most disturbingly,  as Daisy, a girl with many miserable secrets. To top it all off, there’s a beautiful and sensitive performance by  as Valerie, the wise nurse who recognizes Susanna’s extraordinary intelligence and uses it to help steer her in the right direction, and  as her shrewd analyst.

Academy Award:  Best Supporting Actress (Angelina Jolie)

Golden Globe Award:  Best Supporting Actress (Angelina Jolie)

Screen Actors Guild Award:  Best Supporting Actress (Angelina Jolie)

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