Ignore the critics - it's way too easy just to call Girl, Interrupted a 'Cuckoo's Nest with women'. The story and the atmosphere are both completely different.
Girl, Interrupted is based on a true story about one young woman's stay inside a psychiatric hospital. Eighteen-year-old Susanna Kaysen is questionably diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder and spends nearly two years on the ward for teenage girls - where she chooses to befriend her fellow inmates, a group of troubled young women.
If you think all movies set in mental institutions are depressing, think again - Girl, Interrupted is often amusing and uplifting, as well as dark and haunting. It has a brilliant cast - Winona Ryder, Angelina Jolie, Whoopi Goldberg, Brittany Murphy, Vanessa Redgrave and Jared Leto, to name but a few, are all outstanding in this compelling drama. Ryder's portrayal of Susanna Kaysen has been called 'weak' by the critics, which is ridiculous. Her performance isn't exactly powerful, but it's one of her best performances to date. Admittedly, though, Jolie outshines Ryder in this movie - she deservedly won an Oscar for her portrayal of fiesty sociopath Lisa Rowe, and anyone who saw 'Lara Croft: Tomb Raider' and then branded Jolie a 'terrible actress' should see this. Her performance alone is worth seeing this movie for - being an Angelina Jolie fan, you could accuse me of being biased, of course - but she is undeniably brilliant in this movie, bringing the screen to life with huge amounts of energy and emotion. Brittany Murphy is also superb in this movie, despite being slightly overlooked by the two lead characters.
Overall, Girl, Interrupted is a moving, inspirational drama. It's one of my favourite movies of all time, with one of my favourite performances from one of my favourite actresses. I recommend watching the movie with the director's commentary at least once - it's interesting and will provide you with lots of little-known information about the movie.