Slow, brooding films are becoming a rarity indeed - ones that create drama
with little ostentatiousness, but a lot of intensity. Movies, which set out
with an aim of probing some of life's seemingly strange questions, are rarer,
still. The mention of teenage in movies brings to us weird sexual escapades.
Girl, Interrupted comes as a much-needed break from such inanities.
It is a touching chronicle of a teenage girl's stay at a psychiatric hospital.
It may not be very intense, but it is surely gripping. The tale is a true one,
based on a book written by the protagonist, Susanna Kaysen.
Winona Ryder plays Susanna, a girl who cannot reconcile with her innermost problems. When she is a sent to a prestigious psychiatric hospital in Claymoore, she cannot figure out why. Some wonderful editing comes into play here, as Susanna's consciousness keeps going back to the past. We are made witness to fragments of her life that present a girl who is normal but for a little disinterestedness.
Susanna finds herself drawn into the lives of other girls in the hospital. Lisa (Angelina Jolie) is the girl marked as notorious, but who is also some sort of a leader among the group. The going-ons in the hospital can be likened to moments of darkeness; interspersed with bursts of sunshine, but most of the time it is a twilight zone.
Susanna is so taken in by the place that she lets go of an opportunity to flee. But an incident has Lisa and her on the run from the hospital. They land at Daisy's (Brittany Murphy) place. Daisy had been at the hospital and was released. But she hasn't recovered either and Lisa's taunts drive her to commit suicide.
The incident leaves Susanna shaken, and on her return to the hospital, she confronts her problems. The new realizations scuttle the past ideas. In a drawn out scene, Lisa's defence mechanisms too, are shattered by Susanna. Life doesn't remain the same for these two. Susanna recovers and goes back home with a fresh perspective of life.
The most intriguing thing is that the diagnosis - "Bordeline Case" doesn't explain anything. Was she really insane? What is sanity?
Winona Ryder gives an amazing performance. Her eyes convey all the 'ambivalance'
- a word she uses without knowing its meaning - towards her situation. She is
a talent to watch out for. Angelina Jolie appears suitably refractory, and has
a lot of style. The ease with which she manipulates her tone is impressive.
But for all that, she is somewhat of a letdown in the last scene, in which she
The screenplay may appear a bit fractured, with a lot of things left unexplored.
But then we are spared some unnecessary melodrama as well. The tale is told
from a single character's perspective and there are bound to be things that
don't add up.