Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Christina Ricci, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Jessica Lange, Anne Heche, Jason Biggs
Director: Erik Skjoldbjærg
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama
Award winners Christina Ricci (CURSED, MONSTER) and Jessica Lange (BIG FISH, ROB ROY) star in this emotionally charged true story about a journey into excess! When talented young writer Elizabeth Wurtzel (Ricci) earns a sc... more »
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Debbie P. from GALAX, VA
Reviewed on 1/13/2012...
Found the DVD to be somewhat interesting. Not sure I would watch it again.
Superb Ricci !: A Young Woman's Memoir of Days of Depression
Tsuyoshi | Kyoto, Japan | 01/12/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This is a filmed adaptation of the book "Prozac Nation: Young and Depressed in America: A Memoir" written by Elizabeth Wurtzel, a former writer for "New York" and "New Yorker." When it was published about ten years ago, she was 26 years old, and in it she recounts the days of depression while she was in Harvard University. Elizabeth ('Lizzie') is played by Christina Ricci, and co-stars are -- Jessica Lange as her mother, Jason Biggs, Michelle Williams, Jonathan Rhys-Myers (all her friends), and Anne Heche as Doctor Sterling. And a cameo of one New York rock music icon (see below). It is directed by Erik Skjoldbjaerg, known for the original European "Insomnia."The story is, as you expect, slightly episodic. It is about Elizabeth who comes to Harvard in 1986. After her talent of writing is publicly recognized (she was awarded by the Rolling Stone magazine), she starts to experience acute depression. The film is about these days of the university life of Elizabeth, who, in spite of herself, hurts the people around her and herself again and again. Perhaps because of the nature of the film, "Prozac Nation" will devide the opinions among viewers. Some will find Elizabeth selfish while others relate to her. Whatever your reaction may be, it is hard for anyone to rationalize the complicated phychological aspects of humans' behaviors, and the film also shows that difficulity. If you remember Angelina Jolie's character in "Girl, Interrupted," I think you understand what I am saying. Why does she act like that? Why Lizzie keeps on hurting the feelings of the people around her? No easy answer can be given. But as far as Christina Ricci's acting goes, she is excellent. You know that from the first scene, in which Elizabeth stares vacantly in the air. Something is wrong, you instantly see, and with authentic touch from the superb Ricci. Her involvement in the film is a genuine one (she is also a co-producer of the film), and you can tell that she dedicated herself to be the character. And other actors are good (though I found Ms. Lange is a bit miscast, who could not simply look like Ricci's mother). Talented Michelle Williams plays here a rather one-dimentional role as Lizzie's roommate, but her good-natured personality comes onto the screen very naturally (which means, she is as charming as ever). And you may consider Jason Biggs as (again) Mr. Good-Guy, but his character shows slightly unexpected depth as the story goes on. Shame, he is also underrated. Oh, and you will see Lou Reed as himself (who happened to be the city where the shooting was done), who helps to creat a very touching moment of the film with Christina Ricci.So, you may say, Why three stars? OK, two reasons. One is that the director tends to use unnecessary flashy camera works -- speed-ups, or that kind of things -- which are totally irritating. When you have great acting of Ricci, you just don't need them. And the other is the story, which tries to swallow too many factors at once. Though the pains of Lizzie is realized well on the screen, many of her actions look too sudden, or disjointed. But here I may be too harsh, for the original book is a memoir, not a novel.The film had been completed in 2001, but few people have seen in it (I'm writing this in Jan. 2004). In Japan, where I live, they released it in the autumn of 2003. The delayed release might imply something bad about the film. Actually, it is not as bad as these facts would suggest. Only that "Prozac Nation" is not for everyone. But it is also true that it could have been better, and it IS good when it shows the actors doing what they can do. And Christina Ricci. Her fans should never miss it."
"I wish I could just figure out who I am"
M. J Leonard | Silver Lake, Los Angeles, CA United States | 07/07/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Although Prozac Nation never got a theatrical release it so well deserved, it has finally, after more than three years, been released on DVD. It's a well-made, well-acted film, an unremittingly subdued portrait of a young girl's path towards mental self-destruction. And while the movie does quite a good job of showing this, it doesn't really offer any real solutions to the problems of clinical depression - apart from popping Prozac that is.
Based on a true story and set in the mid-1980's, Prozac Nation stars the chameleon-like Christina Ricci as Elizabeth Wurtzel, a mentally unstable but academically gifted Harvard undergraduate who gets into a downward spiral of alcohol and drugs, eventually ending up estranged from the people who care about her the most. The movie lays out, with remarkable insight and clarity, that Elizabeth might well have been prone to depression, but with her early dysfunctional family life, she didn't stand a chance.
Her intensely pushy and neurotic mother (marvelously played by Jessica Lange) desperately tries to help her, but has in effect, spoilt her beyond imagining. Elizabeth's father (Nicholas Campbell), an old pill addict and rocker, and an even more self-centered character, has all but deserted the family.
At Harvard, her life begins to fall apart and even though she develops some good friends, they're often reduced to looking on helplessly as she steadily spirals out of control: there's the kindly roommate Ruby (Michelle Williams), who really "gets" her; her first lover Noah (Jonathan Rhys Meyers), who turns her on to recreational drugs and later moralizes to her about it; and a caring fellow student and lover Rafe (Jason Biggs), whom she anoints as her "savior," but who ends up dumping her because he just can't stand her vitriolic mood swings.
The only person that Elizabeth can really connect with is rocker Lou Reed, presumably because she's always so out-of-it on drugs. Terrified of being rejected by Rafe she goes into panic mode, eventually getting some therapy sessions with Dr. Sterling, an unemotional psychiatrist (Anne Heche). Dr. Sterling realizes that only by remaining aloof can she reach the turmoil of Elizabeth's inner soul. Eventually, she prescribes Prozac, the panacea drug of the 1980s, to help Elizabeth have an emotional window of opportunity and hopefully rebuild her identity.
Ricci is terrific as Wurtzel, giving the role all that she's got. She has attention-grabbing eyes, and a face that is open at one moment and totally withdrawn the next. In this role, she uses her eyes and face to reflect not only the emotional turmoil but also anger, resentment at the world, and the sense of the uncontrollability of her self-destructive actions. She lashes out at everyone, screwing up her face and sneering with a kind of cold-hearted wrath.
In Prozac Nation there's almost nonstop screaming, crying, and out-and-out appalling behavior, which, after the first hour, may prove to be a bit much for some viewers. But if you can handle the subject of mental illness and the accompanying histrionics, it's a film that is certainly worth watching, mostly for Ricci's cleverly willful, intractable, and totally on-the-mark performance. Mike Leonard July 05.
'P N' has insight into world of depression!
Lonster | Littleton, Co USA | 11/11/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I loved this movie. Ms. Ricci's acting has grown far beyond her role as 'Wednesday Addams' in the Addams family pictures, she made me want to either cry or hug her and tell her that it would be okay. I saw my mother and I in her interactions with Jessica Lange. This was a well-made film and it showed what it is like to be depressed from the depressed individual's POV. All of the actors were wonderful, the script was excellent, the cinematography was spot-on. I really felt for these people. I am recommending this movie to everyone that I meet!"