Girl, Interrupted is a 1999 drama film about a woman's 18-month stay at a mental institution, starring Winona Ryder and Angelina Jolie. It was adapted from the original memoir Girl, Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen and directed by James Mangold. The screenplay was written by James Mangold, Lisa Loomer, and Anna Hamilton Phelan. The original music score was composed by Mychael Danna. The film is rated R by the MPAA, for strong language and content relating to drugs, sexuality and suicide.
"Based on a true story."
"The crazy thing is, you're not crazy."
"Sometimes the only way to stay sane is to go a little crazy."
Susanna Kaysen, eighteen years old in April of 1967, voluntarily checks herself into the fictitious Claymoore Hospital (based on McLean Hospital, the actual institution featured in the memoir), after an attempted suicide. Kaysen is diagnosed with borderline personality disorder, and her stay extends two years.
She befriends fellow patients Polly Clark (Elisabeth Moss), Lisa Rowe (Angelina Jolie), Georgina Tuskin (Clea DuVall), Daisy Randone (Brittany Murphy) and others, and forms a small troupe of troubled women in her ward. Susanna is enchanted in particular by the unruly Lisa, who encourages her to stop taking her medications and generally resist the influences of therapy.
Time passes, and a night comes when Polly awakes screaming "My face, my face!" The nurses remove her and place her into solitary confinement with the intention of calming her down, but she continues sobbing. Troubled, Susanna (with the help of Lisa's keys) steals a guitar and they sit outside Polly's room, singing. Eventually, staff members notice. When an orderly (Susanna's friend) walks by, she pulls him to the ground and kisses him.
The next morning, Susanna is called into the Office, where she is analyzed once more. Lisa is moved to another ward, as is the orderly.
Lisa and Susanna break out of Claymoore with the intention of going to work in Disney World. They spend the night at the house of the recently released Daisy, who kills herself the next morning after Lisa antagonizes her. Lisa runs away, while Susanna calls the police and returns to the hospital.
Lisa eventually returns after overdosing on drugs and develops a vendetta against Susanna. She threatens to kill Susanna, but in the process Susanna launches a fiery verbal attack upon her, and Lisa undergoes a mental breakdown. Susanna is released the next day.
At the end of the film, Susanna states that by the 1970s, most of her friends were released.
The film was shot at various locations in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, especially Harrisburg State Hospital in settings meant to resemble those of the grounds of McLean.
The author, Susanna Kaysen, was among the detractors of the film, angered by the "melodramatic drivel" Mangold used with the script by conjuring up many stories that never happened in the book (such as Lisa and Susanna running away together).
Film supporters claimed that it represented the suppression that women and mental patients suffered during that era, and that all changes were made in order to make the story more viable onscreen.