review for Girl, Interrupted on AllMovie

Girl, Interrupted (1999)
by Jason Clark review

This adaptation of Susanna Kaysen's popular memoir is an agreeable but shamelessly derivative update of any one of a number of "loony bin" movies, with an especially egregious nod to 1975's One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. The film boasts an impressive pedigree: Winona Ryder (who also served as a producer) is fully in her element as the troubled young woman of the title; and Angelina Jolie gives a showy (if not terribly believable) turn as the resident hellraiser. After a most promising opening -- wherein director James Mangold solidly suggests the rocky turmoil of the film's time period -- the psychiatric ward clichés begin to pile up, and the more the film veers toward pathos, the less interesting it becomes. Girl, Interrupted eventually fails to capture the irony and true sense of displacement that it is aiming for, leaving it a mixed affair at best. Typical of the Academy's penchant for histrionic bravado, Jolie picked up a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her broad work in this film.