Dr. Crumble: "Susanna, four days ago you chased a bottle of aspirin with a bottle of vodka." Susanna: "I had a headache."
American film released in 1999, starring Winona Ryder, Angelina Jolie, Whoopi Goldberg and Brittany Murphy. Based on writer Susanna Kaysen's account of her stay in a mental institution in the late 1960's.Shortly after her high school graduation and a subsequent suicide attempt (probably), upper middle class Susanna (Ryder) is admitted to Claymoore Psychiatric Hospital, where she meets and in some cases befriends other young, female patients, most notably Lisa (Jolie), the charismatic ring leader. The group rebels against the oppression of institutionalized life, going bowling in the basement at night and breaking into the doctor's office to read their case files. Susanna is diagnosed with borderline personality disorder, Lisa is a sociopath, Georgina a compulsive liar and the saccharine Polly is a disturbed burn victim.Other patients count an anorexic called Janet, a butch lesbian called Cynthia - homosexuality still being regarded as a mental disorder at the time - and the hostile Daisy, who's dealing with an eating disturbance of her very own and is somewhat at odds with Lisa.After some rule breaking and conflicts with the staff that leads to Lisa being taken away for electroshock treatment, she and Susanna escape one night. It ends up being a rather short trip during which Susanna becomes disenchanted with Lisa and voluntarily returns to Claymoore. Lisa is later returned too, less voluntarily and in a pretty bad state. Susanna, in the meantime, has recovered and is preparing to leave the institution, which leads to a final showdown between her and Lisa.Jolie won quite a few awards for her supporting role, among them a Golden Globe and an Oscar.
Tropes evident in Girl, Interrupted include:
Based on a True Story: The film is based on the memoirs of Susanna Kaysen. It's not the most faithful adaptation in the world, but it's still recognizable.
Dr. Potts: You've been feeling bad in general. You've been feeling depressed?
Susanna: Well, I haven't exactly been a ball of joy, Melvin.
Janet: When they built this place they put the tunnels in so the loons didn't have to go anywhere in the cold.
Susanna: I must've missed that in the brochure.
"Taking us for ice creams in a blizzard. Makes you wonder who the real whackjobs are."
Valerie definitely has some snark in her:
Susanna: Has anyone ever watched you shave your legs?
Valerie: I got two kids and one bathroom; what do you think?
After which Susanna upstages her in the snark department by responding "I think you should lock the door."
Distant Finale: In the novel. Some time after Susanna is released from the hospital, she has encounters with Georgina, now married, and with Lisa, who has had a child.
Double Standard: Not the film, but the morality of the time. Susanna's promiscuity is considered pathological and she asks if the reaction would have been the same, had she been male.
Draft Dodging: After being drafted, Susanna's boyfriend, Toby, tries to get her to run away with him to Canada.
Driven to Suicide: Susanna attempting it (despite her denying claims) is what got her committed to the institution. A former patient called Jamie (and former resident of Susanna's room) hung herself, as does Daisy later in the film.
Lawyer-Friendly Cameo: Claymoore Hospital for McLean Hospital. Does not apply in the book (and seeing as it's a memoir, it doesn't have to).
Leave the Camera Running: Several scenes contain very long steadycam shots. The longest of which is the entire scene in which Susanna and Lisa talk to each other through a tiny window - the shot goes on for over a minute.
Mood-Swinger: Lisa. Her opening scene best illustrates this trait - she goes from cheerful and cocky upon returning to Claymoore, to a frightening rage when she discovers Susanna is Georgina's new roommate.
"The Reason You Suck" Speech: Lisa to Daisy (which is what finally tips Daisy over the edge), and later Susanna to Lisa (see Shut Up, Hannibal! below). Even earlier, Valerie gives one to Susanna after the latter refuses to leave her bed and starts acting increasingly like Lisa.
Self Harm: Susanna repeatedly bangs her inner wrist until it bruises in the novel (this is also implied at the beginning of the film), and Daisy cuts her arms in the film. In addition, a deleted scene shows that Lisa uses lit cigarettes to burn the image of a cat onto her arm - this is the reason she is always seen wearing a band over her forearm. It's also alluded to even further in the finished film when Daisy snaps "Look at your own arm, asshole!".
Lisa: You know, there's too many buttons in the world. There's too many buttons and they're just - there's way too many just begging to be pressed, they're just begging to be pressed, you know? They're just - they're just begging to be pressed, and it makes me wonder, it really makes me fucking wonder, why doesn't anyone ever press mine? Why am I so neglected? Why doesn't anyone reach in and rip out the truth and tell me that I'm a fucking whore, or that my parents wish I were dead?
Susanna:Because you're dead already, Lisa! No one cares if you die, Lisa, because you're dead already. Your heart is cold. That's why you keep coming back here. You're not free. You need this place, you need it to feel alive. It's pathetic.