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 »holarship to Harvard, she sees it as her chance to escape the pressures of her working-class background and concentrate on her true talent. But what starts out so promising leads to self-destructive behavior and paralyzing depression that reflects an entire generation's struggle to navigate the effects of divorce, drugs, sex, and high expectations. Based on the best-selling autobiographical novel, PROZAC NATION also stars Michelle Williams (THE STATION AGENT), Anne Heche (JOHN Q), Jason Biggs (JERSEY GIRL), and Jonathan Rhys-Meyers (BEND IT LIKE BECKHAM).« less
Amber B. from MIDDLEBURG, PA Reviewed on 9/15/2017...
It's OK...nothing spectacular. Personally, if Christina Ricci wasn't the star, I wouldn't have gotten it.
1 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.
Debbie P. from GALAX, VA Reviewed on 1/13/2012...
Found the DVD to be somewhat interesting. Not sure I would watch it again.
1 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.
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!"
Good Story Great Acting!
Shazzy | Heber Springs,Ark | 01/04/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"It's silly to berate a movie that hasn't even come out. Having read the book, and been down the road of chronic depression for many months, I have to disagree with the first preview that claims this movie unworthy because of the image Wurtzel gives us of depression. Depression, sorry to burst Violetta's bubble, it a unique, personal hard fought battle for evey individual who suffers from it. That just happened to be Wurtzel's experience with her own depression. Needless to say I give the book my highest rating and hope to do the same with the movie. Prozac Nation was one of those movies I wanted to see as soon as I heard about it. I have seen the trailer a few times and couldn't wait for the film to be released into theaters. It was at first in limited release, which I don't understand why since it is a mainstream movie but anyway it finally arrived to my local theater today. So as soon as I could I rushed to the theater to see Prozac Nation.
The movie's plot is very simple but at the same time very complex, Lizzie played by the beautiful and talented Christina Ricci is a depressed girl. Following up his critically acclaimed debut Insomnia (1997), Norwegian director Erik Skjoldbjaerg makes his first English-language feature with this adaptation of the novel by Elizabeth Wurtzel. Christina Ricci stars as Lizzie, a prize-winning student heading off to Harvard where she intends to study journalism and launch a career as a rock music critic. However, Elizabeth's fractured family situation including an errant father (Nicholas Campbell) and a neurotic, bitterly hypercritical mother (Jessica Lange) has led to a struggle with depression. When her all-night, drug-fueled writing binges and emotional instability alienate her roommate and best friend, Ruby (Michelle Williams), as well as both her first (Jonathan Rhys-Meyers) and second (Jason Biggs) boyfriends, Lizzie seeks psychiatric counseling from Dr. Diana Sterling (Anne Heche), who prescribes the wonder drug Prozac. Despite success as a writer that includes a gig writing for Rolling Stone and some mellowing out thanks to her medication, Lizzie begins to feel that the pills are running her life and faces some tough choices about her future. Prozac Nation (2001) is a longtime dream project of star Ricci, who also serves as one of the film's co-producers. Prozac Nation then starts to develop into an unusual and original movie, which I for one have never seen before. A lot of symbolism, terrific acting, and a lot of dark past scenes ensue.
In this film I really could not believe the acting. It was terrific all around. Christina Ricci proves that she can hold a lead role and do it flawlessly. Her role was perfect and involved a lot of different emotions, which she played off like a natural. But Christina Ricci's acting isn't the highlight of this film, that award goes to Jessica Lange who plays her role like she actually was going though this in real life. Her incredible acting kept getting stronger throughout the entire film. The supporting actors and actresses were all good as well. Michelle Williams who played Ruby, was really good in her role. Emily Perkins who played Ellen was very good as well as Anne Heche who played the doctor Sterling.
The film's script was another strong point. It was very good! I never knew what was going to happen next. I thought I did a few times but I was wrong. The script also had a lot of symbolism in it and if you watch the movie closely you will be able to catch it. I also like how the movie didn't have the typical Hollywood ending at the end. It was very different and I didn't expect what happened to happen. The writer, Galt Niederhoffer did a great job and surprisingly this was his second film. I wish I could shake this man's hand for making such a great piece of cinema. I am really looking forward to his next movie Lonesome Jim that comes out in 2005. I loved the director's use of camera angles and the many views of various landscapes and the sky. It was very creative.
So what else can I say about the film, it was very independent like which I am sure will turn the normal moviegoers off right away. The movie moves slowly to build its story and suspense. It does this flawlessly. It's really amazing. If you want a great movie that has an unusual and original story, great acting and lots of hidden messages and symbolism then go see Prozac Nation and enjoy. If you don't like movies that make you think then skip this one because it's not for you. It was a terrific film from a great new director.I've been looking forward to seeing Prozac Nation since I first saw the poster for the film. The poster itself seemed rather amusing and then when I had seen the trailer for the film and wanted to watch the film even more. I usually enjoy Christina Ricci on the big screen. She is definitely a great actress. Lots of clever dialog, great acting, and a unique story ensue.
The acting in the film was top notch. I think Christina Ricci's performance was very noteworthy. I liked her character. Lizzie was nice girl who was very sweet and innocent. Jonathan Rhys-Meyers performance was another great role for his resume. I liked how his character had many sides to him. I felt they all played their characters well.
I think what is amazing about the script is the fact that a. the writer never wrote a film anything like it before and b. it's a very original film. I know I haven't seen every movie but I never seen a movie like this. The story was unique, the characters were likable, and the dialog was rather clever. I applaud these two screenwriters for their effort on the script. Sadly I doubt the movie will do well. There was only three people in the theater counting me and the story is rather odd and original so I don't know if it will really trigger much interest from the typical moviegoers.
Erik Skjoldbjærg was the director of Prozac Nation. I have not seen his movies Insomnia yet but I'll watch it as soon as I can get my paws on it. I liked how in the film, Erik Skjoldbjærg really captured being in Harvard and being depressed, showing everyone in the opening scene of the film. It really lets you know how life is for Lizzie. The director also did a good job of directing the actors and making them connect. I really felt for the characters in this film. I liked that they had this great connection with each other on screen.
So to summarize, I overall really enjoyed Prozac Nation. The cast is great, as is its story. I feel the film won't attract much attention since the crap fest wholesome teen movies and sex comedies rule the box office, it's an indie film and the fact that Prozac Nation itself isn't aimed at the average moviegoer crowd. I recommend this film though to anyone who wants to see a film that is smart, original and witty. It delivers great performances and some sad moments. I really enjoyed the film and will probably go see it again if I can."
It gets its point across very well
Phoenix | Australia | 11/03/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I bought this DVD today and just finished watching it for the first time. It is a tough subject and I don't really know if you can accurately depict true mental depression in a film: a book can spend a lot of time getting under your skin and into your head; this film only runs approx. 91 minutes. My initial feelings were that it is, from someone who has never taken any anti-depression drugs (because I refused to when it was recommended to do otherwise), an honest film; perhaps as close to reality as a movie on this subject can get. "Prozac Nation" did a damn good job in my humble opinion and it was without the typical cliches` and acted by everyone extremely well, especially Christina Ricci and Jessica Lange. Recommended to anyone who wants to get closer to a true-life story on this subject. Also thought that those reviewers who discarded the film, suggesting the character just "get over it" were a bit harsh. A depressed person is often unreasoning. So how can it possibly accept "get over it" as an answer?"