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Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||James Mangold|
|Produced by||Douglas Wick
|Screenplay by||James Mangold
Anna Hamilton Phelan
|Based on||Girl, Interrupted
by Susanna Kaysen
|Music by||Mychael Danna|
|Cinematography||Jack N. Green|
|Editing by||Kevin Tent|
|Distributed by||Columbia Pictures|
|Running time||127 minutes|
Girl, Interrupted is a 1999 drama film, and an adaptation of Susanna Kaysen's 1993 memoir of the same name. The film chronicles Kaysen's 18-month stay at a mental institution. Directed by James Mangold, the film stars Winona Ryder as Kaysen, with a supporting cast that includes Angelina Jolie, Brittany Murphy, Whoopi Goldberg and Vanessa Redgrave.
Girl, Interrupted was released on December 21, 1999 and received mixed reviews from film critics. Jolie won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, a Golden Globe Award and Screen Actors Guild Award for her performance.
In April 1967, 18-year-old Susanna Kaysen (Winona Ryder) voluntarily checks herself into Claymoore Hospital after taking an overdose of aspirin. She denies the accusation from many that she was attempting to commit suicide, claiming that she was only "trying to make the shit stop". Nurses and therapists are surprised when Susanna acknowledges that she does not actually want to go to college and would like to become a writer.
She befriends fellow patients Polly "Torch" Clark (Elisabeth Moss), Georgina Tuskin (Clea DuVall), Daisy Randone (Brittany Murphy), Janet Webber (Angela Bettis), and Cynthia Crowley (Jillian Armenante) and forms a small troupe of troubled women in her ward. Susanna is particularly enchanted by Lisa Rowe (Angelina Jolie), a diagnosed sociopath. When Lisa returns to the ward after running away, she notices that her old best friend's place has been taken by Susanna. She demands to know what happened to her best friend, eventually realizing that she had committed suicide. Eventually, Lisa befriends Susanna and the two start causing trouble. Lisa encourages Susanna to stop taking her medications and/or trade them with others, and generally resist the influences of therapy.
During a visit outside the ward at a nearby ice cream shop, Susanna is confronted by her mother's friend, the angry wife of Susanna's old English teacher, with whom she had an affair, and her daughter. The woman harshly berates Susanna, but Lisa intervenes with a verbal assault, horrifying the older woman. As a result, Lisa loses her outside privileges.
Susanna's former boyfriend, Tobias "Toby" Jacobs (Jared Leto), comes to visit her. Toby reveals that he is about to be drafted, and invites her to run away to Canada with him. He tries to convince her that she isn't crazy and that the girls in the asylum aren't really her friends, but Susanna refuses to go with him.
It is shown that Polly observes the couple as they speak outside. That night, she awakens screaming. The nurses remove her and place her into solitary confinement to calm her down, but she continues sobbing, horrified by the burn scars all over her body and face. To cheer her up, Susanna steals a guitar from the music room and sits outside Polly's room with Lisa, singing "Downtown" by Petula Clark. When a male orderly notices them, Susanna seduces him to keep him from reporting the incident. Afterwards, the two girls fall asleep outside Polly's room. In the morning, Valerie Owens, the RN (Whoopi Goldberg) sees the two, exclaims that she is sick of their antics and is referring them to the therapists.
The next morning, Susanna is called into the therapist's office, where she is analyzed once more. Susanna meets the head psychiatrist, Dr. Sonia Wick (Vanessa Redgrave), and attempts to shut her out with a nasty attitude. In response, Wick decides to take Susanna as her patient. She is diagnosed with borderline personality disorder. Lisa is also taken to see the doctor but does not return, and Susanna falls into a depression. Frustrated with Susanna's noncompliance, Valerie throws her into a cold bath to wake her. Susanna attacks her verbally.
Lisa returns, and she and Susanna break out of Claymoore. After hitching a ride, they spend the night at the house of the recently released Daisy, whom Lisa antagonizes in her usual fashion. She accuses Daisy of having an incestuous relationship with her father, and mocks her for continuing to cut herself. Daisy hangs herself the next morning. Unfazed by the suicide, Lisa searches Daisy's pocket, takes whatever cash she can find and nonchalantly leaves the house on her own, but a mortified Susanna stays behind to phone an ambulance and subsequently return to the hospital. Susanna also adopts Daisy's cat, Ruby. In the next few weeks, she begins to cooperate with her doctors and responds to her therapy, expressing her feelings through writing and painting. She is soon scheduled to be released.
At that point, Lisa is caught and returned by the police. Upon learning about Susanna's pending release, Lisa targets Susanna for ridicule and emotional abuse. On her last night at Claymoore, Susanna awakens to discover Lisa in the maze of corridors beneath the ward, reading Susanna's diary to Georgina and Polly, including all of the private thoughts and comments she has made about the other residents. The other girls turn on Susanna, with Lisa particularly vicious. In the ensuing dispute Lisa threatens to stab herself with a large hypodermic needle, but Georgina's words disarm her. Susanna confronts Lisa, telling her that she keeps coming back to the hospital because she has nowhere else to go, and that she is "already dead". Defeated, Lisa cries out in anguish, but Susanna ignores her and goes back to her room.
Susanna is released the next day. Before she leaves, she visits Lisa and talks to her again, telling her that she will get out and that she must come and see her. As Susanna leaves, she says goodbye to all her friends, giving Polly her adopted cat Ruby and reconciling with Georgina. At the end of the film, Susanna states that by the 1970s, most of her friends were released.
- Winona Ryder as Susanna Kaysen
- Angelina Jolie as Lisa Rowe, a sociopath. She is charismatic, manipulative, rebellious and abusive.
- Brittany Murphy as Daisy Randone, a sexually abused girl with bulimia and OCD who cuts herself.
- Clea DuVall as Georgina Tuskin, a pathological liar.
- Elisabeth Moss as Polly "Torch" Clark, a burn victim.
- Travis Fine as John, an orderly with a liking for Susanna.
- Jared Leto as Tobias "Toby" Jacobs
- Jeffrey Tambor as Dr. Melvin Potts
- Vanessa Redgrave as Dr. Sonia Wick
- Whoopi Goldberg as Valerie Owens, RN
- Angela Bettis as Janet Webber, an anorexic.
- Jillian Armenante as Cynthia Crowley, a lesbian
- Joanna Kerns as Annette Kaysen
- Bruce Altman as Professor Gilcrest
- Mary Kay Place as Barbara Gilcrest
- Ray Baker as Carl Kaysen
- KaDee Strickland as Bonnie Gilcrest
- Larry Graeff as the head grounds keeper.
- Kurtwood Smith as Dr. Crumble
- Alison Claire as Nurse Gretta
In a 2000 Charlie Rose interview, Ryder revealed her strong passion to produce the film, indicating that it took seven years to get to the screen. After reading the book, Ryder immediately tried to secure the rights; however, a week earlier they had been purchased by Douglas Wick. Ryder then decided to team up with Wick along with her manager Carol Bodie, who acted as executive producer along with Ryder. Ryder also stated that she tried hard to persuade James Mangold to direct the film, who was reluctant at first. She states that Mangold was the right man for the role as director after she saw his directorial debut Heavy, which explored similar themes to Girl, Interrupted.
Filming took place along Main Street in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, as well as in Harrisburg State Hospital in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Mechanicsburg was chosen for its old fashioned appearance and its old style drug store simply titled "Drugs," all of which gave the film its time-dated appearance. A shot seen in the trailer shows the van traveling towards downtown Harrisburg over the State Street Bridge, where the Capitol building is clearly visible. Deleted scenes were also filmed at Reading's Public Museum.
Critical response 
Stephen Holden in The New York Times wrote; ‘Girl, Interrupted is a small, intense period piece with a hardheaded tough-love attitude toward lazy, self-indulgent little girls flirting with madness: You can drive yourself crazy, or you can get over it. The choice is yours.’
Author opinion 
The author, Susanna Kaysen, was among the detractors of the film, accusing Mangold of adding "melodramatic drivel" to the story by inventing plot points that never happened in the book (such as Lisa and Susanna running away together).
- Academy Awards
- Golden Globe Award
- Screen Actors Guild Award
- The Doors performing "Roadhouse Blues"
- Merrilee Rush performing "Angel of the Morning"
- Petula Clark performing "Downtown"
- Skeeter Davis performing "The End of the World"
- Aretha Franklin performing "Night Time Is the Right Time"
- Jefferson Airplane performing "Comin' Back to Me"
- Them performing "It's All Over Now Baby Blue"
- The Chambers Brothers performing "Time Has Come Today'"
- The Band performing "The Weight"
- The Mamas & the Papas performing "Got a Feeling"
- Wilco performing "How to Fight Loneliness"
- Simon & Garfunkel performing "Bookends Theme"
- "Girl, Interrupted (1999)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2010-06-20.
- "Information on the filming of Girl, Interrupted at Harrisburg State Hospital". Retrieved 2011-01-27.
- "Girl, Interrupted Movie Reviews, Pictures". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2010-06-21.
- "Girl, Interrupted Reviews, Ratings, Credits". Metacritic. Retrieved 2010-06-21.
- "New York Times Review". New York Times. 1999-12-21. Retrieved 2010-06-21.[dead link]
- "BBC Review". BBC. 2001-06-28. Retrieved 2010-06-21.
- Danker, Jared. "Susanna Kaysen, without interruptions". TheJusticeOnline.com. Retrieved 2003-02-04.
|Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: Girl, Interrupted|
- Girl, Interrupted at the Internet Movie Database
- Girl, Interrupted at AllRovi
- Girl, Interrupted at Rotten Tomatoes