Is a film that’s based on the real life memoirs of Susanna Kaysen’s eighteen month stay at a mental asylum in 1960s.
I would describe it as a psychological film that gives a peep into the disturbed psychological state of a young girl and shows how thin is the line between being confused /disturbed and being a psychological wreck. All that’s needed is a slight nudge to topple over the other side. All that’s needed is sometimes self-realisation and will power, not to.
Cast – Winona Ryder , Angelina Jolie, Whoopie Goldberg , Elizabeth Moss ,Clea Duvall
Director – James Mangold
The story begins with Susanna being resuscitated from a drug overdose of aspirin and vodka. She is is a young 18yr old from a well to do family who wants to be a writer but doesn’t want to study further. She is sad , confused , accepts she hears things but claims it was not a suicide attempt.
When she is counselled to sign herself into an upscale psychological institution , she meets many disturbed girls like sociopaths ,pathological liars , anorexics etc. While none of them are beyond recovery , its alarming to see that their mental state is clearly way off from Susanna.
It is also disturbing to see that the mechanised ,highly impersonal manner of treatment of such psychological problems back then was clearly lacking.
Initially rattled, she eventually accepts the system, befriends the girls and kind of “ settles” down.
A well-meant whiplash from the matron ( Whoopie) “ Not to let the anchor down in the place” sets her thinking. Her experience after she flees with another girl Lisa (Angelina) , is a wake-up call for her.
Watch the film to know what changed her course of life and what happens to the other friends who were as much in need of self-redemption.
Angelina swept all awards of the year right from Academy to Golden Globe for her intense performance.
Personally , I found Winona’s performance better as it was more nuanced.
The film does offer a lot to absorb and ponder and two impressive performances to relish, but I did not find the film too great or outstanding coming from the director who gave us likes of Wolverine and Logan.
It showcased a set of teenagers deeply messed up by their own directionless self , disturbed family backgrounds , or a troubled past, badly in need of some compassionate help, which ,it seemed was hardly being provided by the inapt medi-care system.
But the most important take away from the film was that it is so easy to get lost in labyrinths of your mind. Whatever be the outside help, It’s a maze that we ourselves have to come out of.
The film could be good watch depending upon your palate. If you like psychological stuff or Angelina’s or Winona’s performance or the director’s credentials matter to you , you can catch up on this one.