15 years on since the release of Girl, Interrupted, we take a look at the films best actors charting their best assets
This year marks 15 years since the release of the chilling yet charming drama-fuelled cult classic, Girl, Interrupted, the film adaption of Susanna Kaysen’s overwhelming memoir of the same name.Whether you loved or hated it, there’s no denying that the film’s story was captivating and offered extraordinary performances from it’s leading ladies Angelina Jolie and Winona Ryder.
Although the film didn’t do particularly well at the box-office and gained mix reviews from critics, it became a cult-classic and features a few actors who went on to experience huge success. Here we take a look at seven of the films best actors and take a look at their highlights in the film and their careers thus far…
The most striking performance of the film, Jolie played fierce sociopath Lisa Rowe for which she won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Role – and rightly so! We quickly become enchanted by Jolie’s character as we watch her make a mischievous alliance with Ryder’s character Susanna Kaysen. The two succeed in causing trouble, both by running away and when Lisa helps distract orderlies in an attempt to enable Susanna’s visiting boyfriend to have sex with her. The role was probably Jolie’s defining role of her career and she’s since gone on to play other emotionally-charged roles in Clint Eastwood’s ‘Changeling’ and Martin Campbells ‘Beyond Borders’.
Taking the role of the films fragile protagonist, the child-actor decided upon reading the film that she wanted to buy the film rights, however when she set out to purchase them she was told that they had been bought a week earlier by Douglas Wick. She joined the production as Executive Producer and had a fundamental part in getting Angelina Jolie the role that became the most successful of her career to date. Despite Winona’s respective portrayal of the protagonist, the books author Susanna Kaysen disliked the film, saying that ‘melodramatic drivel’ has been added.
Having featured in the likes of Clueless and Drop Dead Gorgeous, Brittany Murphy is pretty much the queen of the cult teen realness, however her role in Girl, Interrupted was somewhat different to her other roles. Murphy plays utterly chic Daisy Randone, a girl with a history of sexual abuse who is now bulimic with OCD and a self-harming problem. Another of her traits? Keeping carcasses of the cooked chickens that her father brings her hidden under her bed. The other girls also think she has an addiction to laxatives. Tragically the character has stark similarities with Brittany Murphy herself who died of combined drug intoxication.
Playing the bushy-bearded boyfriend of Susanna Kaysen who attempts to persuade her to run away, his small role came off the back of Leto’s role in Fight Club and was before he even released music as 30 Seconds To Mars. His role in Girl, Interrupted may have been minimal but he’s now one of the most successful actors to have appeared in the film after winning the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role as HIV-positive trans woman Rayon. He has also released four highly-popular albums as the lead singer of American rock band 30 Seconds To Mars.
She looks barely recognisable as the burn victim Polly ‘Torch’ Clark in the film, a very childlike and emotional girl. Moss’ role was key to the film, as she represents someone that may escape the institution, but she’ll always be trapped in her own disfigured body which is at the root of her issues. Moss went on to take one of the lead roles in hit series Mad Men, which won a number of awards including fifteen Emmy’s and four Golden Globes. Moss herself recently won a Golden Globe for her role in the mini-series Top Of The Lake.
She was already an Oscar-winning actress (for her role in Ghost) when she took the part of the nurse Valerie Owens. The character offers some comic relief with witty one-liners and regular judgemental looks over the top of her glasses. Goldberg’s character could be considered the main relief from the films otherwise sombre motifs and subject matters. Aside from having roles in children’s films like Toy Story 3 and The Muppets, she also has a place on American talk-show The View, which she has been part of since 2007.
Her part in the film was probably the smallest of bunch, playing the sarcastic yet insightful part of Kaysen’s psychiatrist who eventually diagnoses her and takes a keen interest in her wellbeing. The small part she was given was by no means reflective of her career, as she is probably one of the most successful actresses in the film, still being the only British actress to have collected Oscar, Emmy, Tony, Olivier, Cannes, Golden Globe, and the Screen Actors Guild awards.
Words: Ryan Cahill