New On Netflix: Girl, Interrupted

Winona Ryder is cah-razy in this (in one scene, literally) watered-down adaptation of Susanna Kaysen’s memoir in which a teenager checks herself into a mental hospital upon taking an overdose of aspirin; during the course of her 18-month stay, she continually denies that she was trying to commit suicide and befriends a bunch of other troubled girls, becoming particularly enchanted by Lisa (Angelina Jolie), a dangerous but undeniably charismatic sociopath. There’s some good acting here, if by “good acting” you mean being as extreme and histrionic as possible, but Girl, Interrupted doesn’t really have a point; there’s plenty of sound and fury but not one legitimate insight (or even vague opinion) about mental health (as both a concept and an institution), friendship, sexuality, personal responsibility, nothing — all we know for sure is that the water is really cold when Ryder is forced to take a bath. Pretty much an embarrassment all around, and it’s a bit depressing to watch Jolie chew up everything in sight, stealing Ryder’s spotlight (and scoring an Oscar nomination, ’cause the Academy just loves cuh-razy) — you can tell Ryder herself is fuming but unable to do anything about it with her own limited thespian skills.

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