'Girl, Interrupted' asks us to recall the feelings we have for another film about mental illness and the institutions that thrive on it and that film is, of course, 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest'. Anyone who doesn't have a re-collection of that film before, during or after 'Girl, Interrupted', is not a movie fan or has a very short memory. This film is taken at a mental institution in the 60's. So was 'Cuckoo's Nest' (although it was made in 1975). This film has a large supporting cast aside from the main lead and supporting character. So did 'Cuckoo's Nest'. This film has a field trip where the characters are briefly free from the rules. Ditto for 'Cuckoo's Nest'. This film has a head nurse who looks after the patients along with a mousy assistant. So did 'Cuckoo's Nest'. So what's the attraction? Primarily that 'Girl, Interrupted' is a true story, although it is a thin one with all the trappings you would expect from a writer whom I suspect, took liberties with the truth because some of the things we see in this film are in direct relation to 'Cuckoo's Nest'. All right, enough about the Jack Nicholson/Milos Forman classic and let's get down to business. .
Winona Ryder plays Susanna Kaysen, a young woman who displays suicidal tendencies by downing a bottle of aspirin with a bottle of alcoholic. She checks into a mental hospital and begins therapy where she is diagnosed by her physician as having Borderline Personality Disorder. Oh, the irony of it all. Throughout it all, we wonder if this is really the case or if Susanna is just a mixed up young woman who simply is succumbing to the pressure of sorting out her chaotic life with pressure from her upper middle class family not making it any easier for her.
Among the many people Susanna meets is Lisa (Angelina Jolie) who has a bumpy first encounter with Susanna. Susanna is given a room where a friend of Lisa's used to reside. Lisa is brought back to the institution after being gone for a long period of time (she escaped) and violently confronts Susanna as to why she is taking up the space occupied by her friend.