18 April 2006


Girl, Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen (4/5)

Sure, I've seen the movie, a few times even if you add up various scenes watched on tv here and there over the years. I watched part of it a couple of weeks ago, but this time I wanted to know how much was true, if there was more, and how much had been altered from the book.

Not surprisingly, events were reworked to include the main character as a participant rather than an observer, to provide turning points, and to give the events a logical progression. Other scenes were added to amp up the drama and fill in some resulting gaps. The changes don't make the movie wrong per se, they just make it a movie.

The book is its own thing: vignettes of hospital life, idleness, imprisonment, mental health care in the late 60s, and the stigma associated with it. She includes pages from her hospital records which reinforce the basic premise:
People ask, How did you get in there? What they really want to know is if they are likely to end up in there as well. I can't answer the real question. All I can tell them is, It's easy.
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  1. I really liked that book, and I read it way before I knew I had a mental illness.
    I was WAY disappointed in the movie.

  2. The movie doesn't have the same feel as the book, so it gives a misleading impression of mental illness. However, without all the action/dramatic conflict, I don't think it'd make much of a movie.

    The book, on the other hand, really skips over how she recovered/ what changed for her or in her. The movie makes it seem pretty simple, but at least they addressed it.

  3. I've never read the book or seen the movie, which is kinda weird considering I do like addiction-related material. Maybe I should check it out.

  4. Kevin: I enjoyed both as separate things. The book is good and a quick read. The movie will probably play better if you see it first. I imagine it'd come off melodramatic if you'd read the book 1st. Either way, Angelina Jolie is quite good though.