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Parents' Guide to

Girl, Interrupted

By Hollis Griffin, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 17+

Powerful look at mental illnesses has graphic content.

Movie R 1999 127 minutes
Girl, Interrupted Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 15+

Based on 3 parent reviews

age 15+

Great movie, heavy topic.

I'm 18 and a senior in highschool and this movie seared my heart. It's such a real, honest depiction of what mental illness can look like. It doesn't romanticize any of it and I think it's great. With a heavy topic you can expect there to be some graphic images/comments throughout the movie but I think its important to show the truth about these types of things so people and teens can learn how serious these topics are. It can be helpful to learn different mental disorders, and how deep mental illness can be. While it may seem like a negative message it's actually quite positive if you watch to the end and there's a lot to learn from the main character, Susanna.

This title has:

Educational value
Great messages
age 15+

Showing in School for Psychology

I show this for a high school class I teach called Psychology in Film. This film is great for help in studying topics such as Borderline Personality Disorder and Antisocial Personality Disorder. However, I would personally not recommend this film for early teenagers. There is a lot of overbearing language and a disturbing and graphic suicide scene. There is also a lack of positive role models for children to learn from. The movie is really good however, and I would recommend it.

This title has:

Too much violence
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (3 ):
Kids say (31 ):

This highly watchable and moving film follows Susanna's journey to reclaiming her mental health, but disconcerting depictions of 1960s-era treatments may be unsuitable for some. Still, Girl, Interrupted features strong, often complex friendships forged between women at the psychiatric hospital. Their frequent and loud confrontations can seem exaggerated for dramatic effect, with various illnesses viscerally portrayed, such as a girl who's addicted to laxatives and another recovering from abuse by her father, to a girl who struggles with a visible facial burn. Girl, Interrupted is at its best when exploring these women.

Because the film features popular actresses like Ryder and Angelina Jolie, kids may already be familiar with it and want to see it -- particularly because it's the movie that made Jolie a star. Yet it deals with such serious subject matter -- incest, suicide, drug abuse, and more -- that caregivers should consider whether it's appropriate for their kids.

Movie Details

  • In theaters: January 1, 1999
  • On DVD or streaming: June 6, 2000
  • Cast: Angelina Jolie , Clea Duvall , Winona Ryder
  • Director: James Mangold
  • Inclusion Information: Female actors, Gay actors
  • Studio: Sony Pictures
  • Genre: Drama
  • Run time: 127 minutes
  • MPAA rating: R
  • MPAA explanation: strong language and adult content
  • Last updated: April 29, 2023

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