Thursday, December 4, 2008

Girl, Interrupted

An excellent, thought-provoking movie, based on Susanna Kaysen's acclaimed memoir-journal of her nearly eighteen months in a psychiatric hospital in the 1960's. In the movie, Susanna is played by Winona Ryder, but the Oscar win went to a young Angelina Jolie for her portrayal of one of the patients. This look into Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is fascinating, and Winona plays the part of the confused girl exceptionally well. Obviously, this is a very dark story, and, as always, Winona is the perfect dark and chaotic character. She knows there's something wrong, to the point of having attempted suicide, but she doesn't know what, and semi-willingly enters the hospital, hoping someone can help her, but secretly fearing they can't. Jolie plays LIsa, a sociopathic patient, who has escaped and is brought back immediately upon Susanna's arrival. They become friends, of sorts, but it's Lisa who leads Susanna astray to break rules and hinders her recovery. In the end, it is Susanna who makes Lisa see the truth in her self and others the truth in themselves.

I had seen the last few minutes of the ending of Girl, Interrupted while visiting my daughter one evening, then discovered it a few weeks later showing again on HBO. I was intrigued by those few minutes enough to watch it. I'm glad I did. It has been compared to One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, but I didn't see much of a connection, except for the setting of a mental hospital and the fact that the patients in both her often kept medicated. No Nurse Ratched in Girl, Interrupted. In fact, Whoopi Goldberg as Nurse Valerie Owen is the antithesis of Louise Fletcher's character, believing in Susanna and helping her to find her way.

Definitely worth watching. I hope to read the book in the not too distant future.

No comments: