Essay on The Portrayal of Mental Illness in “Girl, Interrupted”

Words: 1701
Pages: 7

The Portrayal of Mental Illness in “Girl, Interrupted”

The film “Girl, Interrupted” is a true story adapted from the original memoir by Susanna Kaysen. Set in the 1960s, it relates her experiences during her stay in a mental institution after being diagnosed with borderline personality disorder following a suicide attempt. Many films include characters with a mental illness; the actors who play these characters have the immense challenge of staying true to the illness they portray. The main character in “Girl, Interrupted,” Susanna Kaysen, played by Winona Ryder, was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder. According to the DSM-IV-TR (2000) borderline personality disorder is a pervasive pattern of instability in relationships,
…show more content…
They fail to compensate or make amends for their behavior. They lack empathy, are callous, cynical and contemptuous of the feelings, rights, and sufferings of others. Sociopaths have an inflated self-appraisal, lack realistic concern about their current problems or their future; they are excessively opinionated, self assured and cocky. Lastly they display a glib superficial charm and can be voluble and verbally facile as in using technical terms or jargon to impress someone unfamiliar to the topic (DSM-IV-TR, 2000). There are several instances in the film where Lisa fails to conform to social norms; she runs away from the hospital, Polly makes a reference to her repeatedly doing this in the past. Lisa also steals a wallet form one of the men in the night club after she escapes from the hospital with Susanna. She showed no regard for Daisy’s feelings when she antagonized her and showed no remorse whatsoever when she discovered that Daisy had consequently hanged herself, calling her, “an idiot,” and then saying Daisy, “had been waiting for an excuse”, showing no concern, she then took the money from Daisy’s pocket and left when Susanna refused to go with her. She showed a lack of concern about her current situation having been in the hospital for eight years and still not taking her medication. Lisa manipulated Susanna by constantly undermining the treatment and doctors at the