Film Review : Girl Interrupted Directed By James Mangold Staring Winona Ryder And Angelina Jolie

Film Review : Girl Interrupted Directed By James Mangold Staring Winona Ryder And Angelina Jolie

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The 1999 film girl Interrupted directed by James Mangold staring Winona Ryder and Angelina Jolie, is an adaptation of Susanna Kaysen’s biography, about her experiences at a psychiatric hospital after being diagnosed with Borderline personality disorder in the 1960’s. The film follows the story of a teenage girl named Susanna who is admitted to Claymore hospital after attempting to commit suicide by overdosing on a mixture of aspirin and vodka. The film makes it very clear to the viewer, in more than one scene, that Susanna often questions her diagnosis, in the film’s opening monologue Susanna says, “Have you ever confused a dream with life? Or stolen something when you had the cash? Have you ever been blue? Or thought your train moving while sitting still? Maybe I was just crazy. Maybe it was the sixties or maybe I was just a girl interrupted.” (Wick, Conrad & Mangold, 1999). Susanna also questions who draws the line in the sand, between what is normal or abnormal behavior, does being depressed and losing your identity define someone as having a mental illness? Another scene in the film that expresses Susanna’s doubt about her diagnosis is when she says “are we ever truly crazy or maybe life is . . . crazy is everyone just amplified,” (Wick, Conrad & Mangold, 1999). I believe that Susanna is right in questioning her diagnosis, perhaps she is not “crazy”, after watching the movie I also question whether or not she was properly diagnosed; I believe she is “that girl interrupted” she was not suffering from borderline personality disorder, but rather having a transitory identity crisis, coupled with depression and anxiety caused by the stress in her environment. One must take into consideration that the revolution of sixties wa...


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...ed; her final diagnoses “recovered from BPD.” According to Oltmanns and Emery PBD is one of the hardest personality disorders to treat, because of the comorbidity of other disorders and the high mortality rate, it is a lifelong debilitating disorder and there is no cure, therefore if Susanna was indeed suffering from BPD, I do not believe she would have been “cured” in just eighteen months (2015). Susanna explains at the end of the film that she goes on to live a happy successful life, therefore I believe she was the product of a clinical misdiagnoses, she was not suffering from PBD but rather a young girl whose identity was lost in transition, she was simply expressing dysfunctional symptoms that where caused by her inability to cope with her life stressors, all the while trying to identify her place in the world; she was a girl temporarily interrupted.











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