– Girl, Interrupted (1999) –


I did not know why I did this, but I taped “Girl Interrupted” upon seeing its name on the to be showed section of the television guide. The atmosphere of the mental institute already remind me of “the lady in the attic” from Jane Eyre, or Esther in the hospital within Sylvia Plath’s “The Bell Jar” It seemed any women with any slight abnormality would be locked up in whatever space available. The suffocating moment made me nauseous, I was afterall very afraid of being locked up, because of my claustrophobia.

On her way to the hospital, Ryder’s character was asked by the taxi driver what she was in for. They spoke of the hallucination – which John Lennon claimed to have with drugs, if hallucination equals to madness – shouldn’t Lennon be locked up too?

Angelina Jolie’s character – Lisa Rowe was proved to be a difficult yet popular figure in the institute, many women who were in there were in awe yet afraid of her. From time to time she screamed at people, run away and cause all kinds of troubles that often put women into problems. At times however, she would help other women from being bullied. For example, when Susanna was harassed by the wife of the professor she had an affair with.

At times I felt very afraid for Ryder’s character when she bumped into people she wished not to see in a state of mental breakdown, I guess this also applied to me when I was in my year out – I was pretty afraid of people to know my situations. I guess I was afraid of many things, from they would look at me differently or they would begin to ridicule me and pushed me away from the society’s scenes.

Also Jared Leto as Ryder’s boyfriend in the film – when he said how people in mental institute was just a load of idiots etc., I felt that he dismissed Ryder’s actual problem – she needed help to deal with her situations, guidelines on what to do with her own life.

I adored Vannessa Redgrave’s scenes – she questioned how well are we or can we accept ourselves, accept the fact that we could never be perfect. Would life be kinder to us, if we learn to accept ourselves and therefore our own fate?

Within the film there were a strong scent of medical control – medical knowledge, procedures and ways of doing things as a way to surveillance, ways to keep people under control, ways to keep different people in suitable place that suits them. For example, how psychiatrist diagnosed the characters into what kind of disorders and put them to so-called treatments that seemed good for them. But did it work at all? Some like Ryder’s character might’ve been ok, but for some other ones like a character call Daisy didn’t actually recover in the end.

I have not had the slightest idea why did I choose to watch this film in the eve of my partner’s birthday, I don’t know for sure but I guess for my current state – I need a closure in order to move on, and my man’s birthday should mark with a significance.



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