SOMETIMES THE ONLY WAY TO STAY SANE IS TO GO A LITTLE CRAZY.
In the late 1960s, a troubled young woman (Winona Ryder) is committed to a mental hospital where she befriends a group of other patients whose condition is worse than hers. The reality-based story of Susanna Kaysen’s experiences from 1960s mental health care is not really another One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975) – Susanna is helped by caring professionals within the system, as well as what she goes through with other patients. It takes a while before one warms up to the film, but this is a moving drama with real insights on mental illness. Good performances, including an outstanding one by Ryder.
1999-U.S. 127 min. Color. Produced by Cathy Konrad, Douglas Wick. Directed by James Mangold. Screenplay: James Mangold, Lisa Loomer, Anna Hamilton Phelan. Book: Susanna Kaysen. Cast: Winona Ryder (Susanna Kaysen), Angelina Jolie (Lisa Rowe), Clea DuVall (Georgina Tuskin), Brittany Murphy, Whoopi Goldberg, Vanessa Redgrave… Jared Leto, Jeffrey Tambor, Mary Kay Place, Elisabeth Moss.
Trivia: Claire Danes and Rose McGowan were allegedly considered for the part of Lisa.
Oscar: Best Supporting Actress (Jolie). Golden Globe: Best Supporting Actress (Jolie).
Last word: “I was like the guy in the old Maxell ad with the wind, I was just like, what the fuck, that was just insane. [Jolie] ended up in that session just reading with me every scene she had in the script all the way to the ending. She just played her arc in one afternoon in Culver City in an audition room and nailed it. My greatest worry was just getting her on camera, to the degree that there were much bigger stars at the time who wanted the same role. The amazing thing about that tape we made that day there was absolutely no hesitation by the studio about using her even though there were bigger names who wanted that part. It was just phenomenal power.” (Mangold, Birth.Movies.Death.)