Girl Interrupted Analysis

1852 words 8 pages
Girl, Interrupted (1999) directed by James Mangold is largely based on a semi- autobiographical book by the same title. The movie chronicles eighteen year old Susanna Kaysen’s experiences surrounding her stay at a mental institution. It is 1967, a time of social change and unrest. Susanna makes a half-heart attempt at suicide, ingesting a bottle of aspirin and chasing the pills with a bottle of vodka. She is taken to the emergency room, her stomach is pumped and she survives. Afterwards she meets with a psychologist who explores her more recent feelings and experiences. The psychologist concludes, with her parents assent, that she would benefit from a stay at Claymore, a private mental institution. The next year and nine months forever …show more content…

When she and Lisa escape from Claymore they meet a group of individuals traveling together. Susanna and Lisa both engage in acts of frivolous sex. These behaviors of Susanna’s would qualify as being impulsive “in at least two areas that are potentially self-damaging”. (2)
The diagnostic criteria for borderline personality disorder states that “recurrent suicidal behavior, gestures, or threats, or self-mutilating behavior”(2) may be present. Susanna was unhappy enough with the way her life was proceeding to attempt suicide, yet not discontent enough to ensure her death. She ingested aspirin and alcohol, yet proceeded then to go to a supermarket, a public place, nearly guaranteeing that she would be taken to a hospital at the first sign of any physical effects. She did not make any suicidal threats, or self-mutilate. Experiencing “chronic feelings of emptiness”(2) is also a part of borderline personality disorder. Susanna feels worthless at certain times in the movie one of those times being when her parents come to visit her at the institution and in talking to her psychologist they seem to focus not on her emotional state or progress, but rather on themselves and what their friends will think of Susanna’s extended stay. Another time Susanna felt purposeless was when her classmate’s mother bragged about her daughter’s achievements and her own mother, noticeable had little to say about Susanna. Susanna does not experience “transient, stress-related


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