Girl, Interrupted

Director:James Mangold
Writers:James Mangold, Lisa Loomer, Anna Phelan
Columbia Pictures; R; 120 minutes
Cast:Winona Ryder, Angelina Jolie, Whoopi Goldberg
Based on Susanna Kaysen's memoir

Susanna (Winona Ryder) checks into a Boston-area psychiatric institution after a suicide attempt. Here she befriends variously unstable fellow residents (Angelina Jolie leads the pack as an attractive sociopath) and receives kind treatment from the staff (Whoopi Goldberg and Vanessa Redgrave in standout cameos). Writing offers Susanna possibility of an escape and the rest is history.

Poets Anne Sexton and Sylvia Plath have rendered the claustrophobic strictures of '60s Boston blue bloods and the raw cost of mental illness and institutionalization with breathtaking skill. One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest managed to evoke the confines of mental wards rather memorably. Girl, Interrupted, however, doesn't live up to its potential, and the acting never rises to the degree necessary to successfully convey inner torment.