The movie Girl, Interrupted is based on the book Girl, Interrupted, by Susanna Kaysen. I would like to say that it is loosely based because although the actress, Winona Ryder, does portray Kaysen’s borderline personality, it seems that Angelina Jolie, who is Lisa Rowe in the movie, steals the spotlight. Girl, Interrupted is about a young girl who is put into the mental ward after an attempted suicide which she claims she was basically trying to leave a lot of stress she had from various experiences behind.
Some of these experiences include wrist banging, having an affair with a teacher, and sleeping with men that had little respect for her. While at the ward, she meets many young girls who all have their own psychological problems that range from being mentally unstable due to sexual abuse, pathological liars, and even sociopaths who have a hard time engaging in social activities without causing an uprising. However, after realizing her only way to escape, Kaysen begins to turn to her doctors and a journal to escape the ward. There is one character that Kaysen turns to at the beginning of her treatment, Lisa Rowe.
Lisa Rowe was placed in the ward since she is diagnosed as a sociopath. Her disorder is portrayed as a free-spirited woman who dominates all the other women in the ward with her attitude and actions. The film portrays her as someone who does not care about her therapy which includes sedatives and various other medications along with seeing therapists. Lisa “tongues” her medications and seems to treat her visits with her therapists as a nuisance to her time. Other females in the ward treat Rowe as though she is a queen as they fear what she may do if they do not obey her.
For instance, when Rowe bums a cigarette off of Kaysen, a lighter is readily lighted by another woman and waiting for Rowe. One interesting thing about Rowe’s disorder that the movie portrays is that she lacks the ability to recognize others’ emotional feelings. During an extremely terrifying scene in the movie where one of the recently released females is at her home where Rowe and Kaysen hide after escaping the ward. While at the home, Lisa starts mentally abusing her as she states that her father engages in intercourse with her which begins to upset the girl greatly.
But, Lisa does not stop there as she continues to abuse her although it is clear to the audience and Kaysen that she is beyond upset. The next morning Kaysen and Rowe find the young girl has hung herself in the bathroom. Kaysen falls to the floor crying while Rowe simply walks up to the hanging body and reaches into her pockets and steals her money. It is clear that Rowe is a danger to herself and others in society. While getting ice cream, Rowe causes an uprising as she singles out the woman whose husband Kaysen had an affair.
The words used by Rowe would not be typical of a confrontation in public, rather a confrontation in privacy. This showed Rowe’s little consideration to those around her. In the ward she is also a danger to the others as she drugs a night guard and even in the end of the movie threatens to drug Kaysen after reading her journal aloud to all the other women in the ward. This clearly shows that if left in a public setting alone, Rowe has the ability to cause injury to those around her. I believe that the film does an extremely good job at portraying Rowe’s character.
It does such a great job that I feel it actually steals the spotlight form the main character. In a sense I think it does help the social stigma associated with many mental disorders. It allows the audience to see that these women suffering are really looking out for attention and although they are mentally sick, they are still humans just like us that have friends and family. My reaction to the film was so compelling that it actually made me more interested in psychology as I wanted to see why these women act the way they do. Sitting back and watching the movie it makes you wonder why she cares so little for those around her.
The reason I chose this film is the fact that the actresses and actors do such a great job portraying those with psychological disorders. The fact that these actresses do not actually have disorders and for them to portray them as well as they do, shows that they had to research each disorder very well in order to captivate the viewer. One other reason I chose this movie is the fact that there is just not one disorder being exposed, rather a variety so you can basically have a mini psychology class of psychological disorders all in one movie.