Girl, Interrupted (1999)
This was James Mangold's third feature, following his successful Cop Land in 1997. A psychological drama about life in a psychiatric hospital for young girls in the 1960, Girl, Interrupted was adapted from Susanna Kaysen's 1993 memoir and feels like the true account it purports to be. It also feels like a story that has gone through the Hollywood machinery, however, because it boasts some overly familiar plot and character developments and a disappointing unwillingness to really delve into the subject matter of mental illness and the hazards of institutionalisation. For all their flagrant flaws and troubles, these girls – not least Ryder and Jolie – always seem to be just one movie reconciliation away from complete recovery. That being said, the film is entertaining and well-made, with several fine performances by a talented cast, including Brittany Murphy as an abused daddy’s girl and Elisabeth Moss as an immature burn victim.