The girls like and respect Valerie for her fairness and willingness to speak on their behalf. – Other stars in the film are: Jeffery Tomboy as Dry. Melvin Potts, Vanessa Regard as Dry. Sonic Wick, Jarred Let as Tibias “Toby’ Jacobs, Travis Fine as Nurse John, Kirkwood Smith as Dry. Crumble and Angela Betties as Janet Webber. Girl Interrupted is based on the memoirs of Susann Awakens. The story revolves around a young woman’s personal struggles and is set in the socially and political turbulent times of the late sass’s.
Susann is a disenfranchised youth on the cusp of adulthood and feeling the increasing pressure from her parent’s and her peers, along with the fallout of an affair with a professor, Susann chases a “headache” with a bottle of aspirin and vodka. As a result she is prescribed “a short rest” at an all girl psychiatric facility. There, Susann encounters a strange and frightening yet alluring world. She immediately realizes there are people who definitely belong in the facility, such as Georgian, Daisy and Poly along with those who display enough fortitude to be independent, including the charismatic Lisa.
Over the course of the year she spends at the facility, Susann begins to redefine herself and her relationship to the outside world. Director James Mango explores the connection between the surrounding physical setting of Claymore Hospital and the social forces in the institutions to the behavior of the characters in a multi-faceted manner. The relationship of the various characters behavior and their setting spans various levels of individual, physical emotional and cognitive perspectives. The two main physical environments of the hospital.
James also uses the social environment of the ward to affect the behavior of the various patients. In Suntan’s case, James uses the two physical environments to show her change in physical and mental behavior. Firstly, her partial suicide attempt in order to detach herself from a world that we see as normal and functional. And secondly, the confines of an environment that a conventional mentally sane person would deem as abnormal, is a place she begins to find reasoning in live and forms connections and relationships with people.
The director also uses this relationship of environment and behavior as a tool to illustrate the issues of childhood, adolescence and growing up. Through the main characters of Susann and Lisa, James demonstrates the opposite effects that same environment and social setting can have on two people. Susann on one hand manages to find acceptance and understanding therefore leading to an improvement in her diagnosis. Where as Alias’s love of anarchy, fun and rebellion always end her at a dead end in a viscous circle that she can’t seem to control or more or less want to control.
Through this film the director manages to convey the positive / negative and related / unrelated effects of environment and behavior. The first couple of scenes depict Suntan’s interaction with the real world, a world outside the concrete walls of the institution that she will eventually end up being a part of. This world of limitless bounders brings out the rebellious nature of her character where she refuses to conform to the rules set by the norm. In one scene she is shown sleeping through her high school graduation with complete disregard to what is going on around her.
This outside world of no implied rules makes her personality very introverted and creates a feeling of detachment with no connection to her social surroundings. Susann seems to view her social environment as over stimulated due to the pressures of firstly being one of the only people in her class not knowing her next step after graduation, secondly this secret affair with a professor and thirdly all the pressures and expectations from her parent’s. These cause a sense of overload that she eventually givens in to the notation of “a short rest” at the institute.
Once she is laced in this environment of confinement, the mental hospital, this physical barrier seem to act as a stimulus and brings about a very real and direct quality of her personality. The confinements of her surroundings at Claymore natures the arousal perspective in her behavior creating a better understanding of her own circumstances by comparing her standing with others who are faring more poorly. Susann begins to see her fellow patients as this idea of a family dynamic with each personality feeling a part of themselves is missing but begin to use different qualities of each to fill those voids.
In the social and physical environment of the institution we learn a lot about the contradictions inherent in the human personality, and the ways some people react to repressive authority. Alias’s behavior is unpredictable and confident, attracting the knows all to well, as she’s been in and out of the hospital for eight years, to control and manipulate the females in the ward whom are not as extroverted as she is. Through this controlled environment Lisa manages to deliberately become the stimulus of her setting by her behavior that her social surrounds, the hospital staff ND patients have no choice but to adapt and adjust to her.
As the most powerful personality on the ward the girls find her utter disregard of authority frustrating but at the same time entertaining. Whether engaging in pranks or escaping from the hospital, Lisa ensures that the routine of the ward never goes uninterrupted for long in an attempt to help voice the anger of the girls she’s around that mask there emotions in fear. Lisa uses the institution as a celebration of her diagnosis as a sociopath, succeeding in becoming an attractive figure for the other girls and veering room extremely kind to perversely cruel emotions without warning.
The prescribed environment of Claymore hospital gives a lot of insight into Suntan’s character by depicting an emotional, caring and truthful aspect of her personality that is not evident while she is in the outside world of the institution. The physical boundaries that are set by the hospital reflect a side of Suntan’s personality of the need to be constricted to spaces in order to improve herself. She is not able to function normally with all the environment load that she experiences in he real world and the outcome is a loss of perceived control over any situation she encounters.
Once in the social environment of the hospital Susann begins to let down her guard and start to understand why she is in the place she is. She becomes absorbed in her surroundings and portrays the structure and entertainment that she lacks on the outside. The regimented world of Claymore and the group of girls that share this experience with Lisa shows her personality as one that has the potential of dealing and leaving the institution but chooses not to as she enjoys a place where she is able o disobey rules.
The walls inside the ward serve as a catalyst to her extroverted personality. An important issue that this film touches on that relates to environment and behavior is the notion of freedom and captivity. When Susann enters Claymore institute she comes to understand that although captivity appears to require the surrender of freedom, the opposite of often true and reflective in her case. The place can be seen as refuge as much as a prison, with limited interaction with the outside world the girls are free to ignore responsibility, even as the responsibility has been taken away room them.
The director also manages to use the spaces of the ward as a subtle character in the movie, in a sense that all the spaces are connected and related to each other Just as the characters become a cohesive link to one another. Another observation is the tunnels underneath the hospital; to Susann they represent the essence of the hospital, stripped of all its doors, bars and signs. They begin to reveal of the hospital, the institution in all its dynamics has given her insight into her illness and allowed her to explore areas of herself she would not have been able to in any there setting. IL The environmental behavioral analysis in Girl Interrupted has taught me that there is always a relationship between environment and behavior with the connection whether positive or negative being dependent on perspective of the certain individual. The environment, be it physical or social, has a cause and effect relationship to ones individual, situational and social decisions. The way one copes with these interactions can either be unsuccessful as Lisa illustrates or successful, in Suntan’s case as she learns to adapt to her environment in a positive manner.