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Girl, interrupted

Threat advisory: Elevated - Significant risk of entertaining activities

Movie propaganda

Based on the best-selling novel by Susanna Kaysen, Girl, interrupted questions the boundaries between confinement and freedom, friendship and betrayal, and madness and sanity at a time when it seemed the whole world might be going crazy.

In 1967, after a session with a psychiatrist she'd never seen before, Susanna Kaysen (Winona Ryder) was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder - an affliction with symptoms so ambiguous almost any adolescent girl might qualify. After her session, she was put in a taxi and sent to a renowned New England psychiatric hospital where she spent the next two years in a ward for teenage girls.

There, Susanna loses herself in an Oz-like nether world of seductive and disturbed young women: among them Lisa (Angelina Jolie), a charming sociopath who stages a disastrous escape with Susanna, Daisy (Brittany Murphy), a pampered girl with a predilection for rotisserie chicken, and Polly, a remarkably kind burn victim. Ultimately, assisted by the hospital's head psychiatrist, Doctor Wick (Vanessa Redgrave), and a no-nonsense ward nurse, Valerie (Whoopi Goldberg), Susanna, like Dorothy, resolves to leave the sanatorium asylum and reclaim her life.

Also starring Clea Duvall, Elisabeth Moss, Jared Leto and Jeffrey Tambor. Directed by James Mangold.

Cinematic intelligence sources

Intelligence analyst

Special Agent Matti

Theatrical report

Girl, interminable but that's just me. I have never been a Winona fan. Ever. Not in Alien: resurrection, not in Reality bites. C'est la vie.

Moving right along, Winona Ryder is becoming better and better at portraying herself on the big screen. With every new film a little more of the character slips away and the actual Winona is revealed. If you want to see a film about Winona locked in an insane asylum, this is your chance, but just so you don't get your hopes up, she gets out in the end. Did you really expect any different?

Angelina won a Golden Globe as best actress in a supporting role in a motion picture for her intense, chaotic, charismatic and completely messed-up character, Lisa, who's far more interesting than Susanna but won't get a movie made about her in Hollywood because Winona could never play the part.

Enough bitching. Is Girl, interrupted a good film? Pffft... it's very much a chick flick, big on talking about things and digging into emotions (not to mention gossip) but it's biggest redemption is that it's biographical. If you want to know what it was like to grow up different in 50s USA, this is it. That said, it takes a long time to move through two years of Susanna's life, so you can guess the amount of intimate detail the film goes into.

My friend David, who watched with me, really liked Girl, interrupted, however. He found it a powerful and moving drama where I was still getting pissed off about seeing Winona. I have never been a Winona fan. Have I mentioned that before?

Girl, interrupted is an interesting enough film if you're into this sort of thing and you don't mind or (god forbid) even like Winona. Remember, the film you see is up to you.

Oh yes, there's lots of female bonding, if that makes your decision any easier.

Media intelligence (DVD)

  • Commentary by James Mangold
  • Behind-the-scenes featurette on the making of the movie with cast and crew interviews
  • Isolated track of songs and Mychael Danna's music score
  • Talent profiles
  • Original movie trailers
  • Menu music
  • 5 deleted scenes with optional commentary
  • Languages: English
  • Subtitles: English, Greek, Polish, Czech, Hungarian, Hindi, Icelandic, Hebrew, Dutch, Croatian, Turkish, Danish, Swedish, Finnish, Norwegian, Arabic, Bulgarian
  • Picture: Widescreen (16:9 enhanced)
  • Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1

Security censorship classification

MA 15+ (Adult themes)

Surveillance time

122 minutes (2:02 hours)

Not for public release in Australia before date

DVD rental: 9 August 2000

Cinema surveillance images

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