Winona Ryder starred in the autobiographical Girl, Interrupted, a memoir written by Susanna Kaysen about a young woman diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder and the time she spent at McLean Hospital. In the best performance of her career, Ryder played Susana as the fiercely intelligent 18 year old who, after attempting suicide, commits herself to Claymoore Hospital. She meets a number of other patients living at the hospital for a variety of different reasons.
After meeting the sociopathic Lisa (played by the excellent Angelina Jolie), she develops a troublesome and at times obsessive friendship with her. Lisa portrays at times an unwavering self-assuredness that Susanna clearly envies, admires, and at times fears.
Ryder’s Susanna is at times belligerent, gentle, and self-damaging but throughout completely believable as she struggles towards understanding what it means to have an ever-changing identity. Ryder uses these small glances, and her stooped body frame to reveal how vulnerable the tiny Susanna is against the force that is Lisa and the crushing unfair world.
By the film’s end Ryder portrays Susanna’s progression from a confused beaten-down teen to a nervous yet changed adult, who would rather tackle the daunting outside world than staying with Lisa.
— “Girl, Interrupted” (1999) by James Mangold
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