Girl, Interrupted (1999)

Based on a true story

Plots

Based on writer Susanna Kaysen's account of her 18-month stay at a mental hospital in the late 1960s. - anonymous

In 1967, Susanna Kaysen had a headache and chased a bottle of aspirin with a bottle of vodka. This landed her in the mental institution, Claymoore. Here she is diagnosed, by Dr. Melvin Potts, with borderline personality disorder. When she arrives at Claymoore, she is greeted by Nurse Valerie Owens and shown round the woman's ward. Here she meets Georgina Tuskin, a pathological liar who is fixated with The Wizard of Oz; Polly Clark, a childlike schizophrenic; Janet Webber, a sardonic anorexic patient; Daisy Randone, a girl who won't let anyone in her room, and only eats her father's chicken; and Lisa Rowe, a sociopath who controls the other patients, and makes lives hard for the nurses at Claymoore. Through the movie, Lisa gains and loses control over Susanna and we see how bad she really can be. The movie's ending shows Susanna being released from Claymoore after an 18-month stay. How does Susanna take back her control? This movie battles subjects such as mental heath, abuse, self-harm and suicide.

In 1967, Susanna Kaysen is depressed and directionless after finishing high school. Afterwards, she discusses this with a psychiatrist. She had been having some delusions. She had also been having an affair with the husband of her parents' friend. The doctor suggests that combining a bottle of aspirin and a bottle of vodka was a suicide attempt. This she denies. He recommends a short period of rest at Claymoore. Claymoore is a private mental hospital full of noisy, crazy people. Georgina Tuskin is a pathological liar and Susanna's roommate. Polly Clark has been badly scarred by fire. Daisy Randone self-harms and won't eat in the presence of other people. Lisa Rowe is a sociopath, the biggest exasperation for the staff - like Nurse Valerie Owens - and the biggest influence on the other girls in the hospital. Lisa has a history of escapes, so gaining access to personal medical files is not a problem - Susanna's boyfriend Tobias Jacobs is concerned that she seems too comfortable living with her institutionalized friends. - David Woodfield