Girl,Interrupted – Where the mental veins break

by Natalia Santos

girl interrupted collage

Girl, Interrupted (1999)

To question your own existence. The battling taste of the underworld, and the sweet realisation that ‘never is, but what is not.’ (Shakespeare’s Macbeth reference) The vicious spin between what is real and what is merely a façade is highly visible within films such as these. Girl, Interrupted (1999) consists as one of these films that manages to execute this execute this fine line between reality v fantasy, in a state that is easily identifiable to a range of different audiences. The dimensions unlocked between reality v fantasy are real enough to sympathise- on even a non-fictional level- which is brilliant.  What we need to understand is that the world of mental health is indeed real, and very transparent in the world that tries to burrow the hatchet. Mental health issues are not translucent in style nor a cover up of insecurities or pain. They are real. Real where real help is needed. Girl, Interrupted opens the audience into this world of the mental health and the damage and trauma derived from it. The audience are taken into an arena of pain, anguish and sheers destruction. We behold emotions reflected from this unstable world of mental health.  The clever trick within film such as these that allow the audience to empathise on such a deeper level is highly important in understanding the structure of this true narrative.  As an audience we mustn’t feel opaque to such emotions- to the point of blocking them out, or, merely rejecting characters because they do not mesh with our own personality traits. This is why the ending of the film is highly crucial in closing the narrative. The film demonstrates the essence of compassion as a sense of catharsis by the end. We must learn to be compassionate. Another interesting point, is the film only depicts women dealing with  mental health issues- when it is highly apparent that men also suffer from the same issues, but just are less vocal and flamboyant about the issue – thus, covering it up similarly; through violence, coldness, alcohol or even sheer quietness.

The cavity of such destruction and reality is just a mere depiction of the real world. The real pain- that most like to hide behind.  The destructive pain of confronting the truth, when the world desires you to believe the fruitless lies of what is normalcy.  A strategy used in order for you to be complacent and stagnant.  Girl, Interrupted uses the main protagonist [ Susanna Kaysen]( Winona Ryder)  as almost a ‘bodily guide’, or in better terms a floating ghost that acts as an inner fly on the wall- in showing us the different dimensions of the damaged human interior. As well as the true colours of some of the characters, As [Susanna Kaysen ] enters the mental institution, we witness various deep psychological interpretations.  This includes the soft child almost peter pan syndrome expressed by [DAISY] (Brittany Murphy), the arrogant, intelligent, highly expressive character of [Lisa Rowe] (Angelina Jolie ) who almost triumphs onto a level of bi-polar disorder or even ounces of psychopathic behaviour.  To the  unstable mysterious alluring tomboy-like character of [Susanna Kaysen] whom tries endlessly in trying to discover the truth of the dangerous valleys of mental health and its destructive path. The character [Susanna Kaysen] can be seen trying to break free from this torturous metaphorical ‘room’ of where the ‘victims’ lay. As the character of [Lisa Rowe ] (Angelina Jolie) expresses within the film.The film can be analysed through multiple dimensions which makes it interesting i.e psychological, societal, religion.  Based on a true story-  We watch how the teams of dishevelled individuals become united through this pain of internal battles and transfer that into a world of harmonious recognition.

The recognition that we are ultimately all alike.  That we are, what we are. Regardless, if you’re state has been interrupted.