Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Prozac Nation

US TV Release: 19th March 2005
Watched on LoveFilm Instant: Sunday 3rd March 2013
Rating: 18
Genre: Drama
Runtime: 1hr 35mins
IMDb Plot Synopsis: A young woman struggles with depression during her first year at Harvard. Based on Elizabeth Wurtzel's novel.

My Review: Christina Ricci’s known for being a bit of an oddball, probably due to her starting out in The Addams Family. Ever since she’s starred in indies, dark and obscure films or in occasional supporting roles in TV shows. It’s been varied to say the least but there is no doubt that she is talented. And Prozac Nation is a definite display of them as she takes the lead as ‘Lizzie’, a troubled freshman at Harvard with a long history of depression. She’s a writer and so there are plenty of insightful monologues and as she gets more and more addicted to prozac, furious scenes of endless writing on paper and the walls as she can’t contain herself. 
The film reflects her worryingly unstable mentality with interesting cinematography to highlight her various mental states. 
It isn’t often that a Hollywood film centres entirely on mental health in a reasonably accurate way and while there is some obvious focusing on the sex and drugs and rock and roll aspect of her condition it does show the more taboo areas occasionally. And Ricci is outstanding. While there may be faults in the films plot or accuracy, Ricci does a great job of portraying a ‘normal’ girls struggles with depression. She isn’t skinny or blonde or nice even. She can get angry and blunt but her depth of character is right there on the screen and that adds to the film enormously. Michelle Williams, playing Ricci’s best friend, also added greatly to the film, even if she was shown less than I would have liked. Her character felt real and responded to Ricci’s character in the way that people do to mental illness - they find it hard to understand, hard to deal with. That realistic portrayal of a strained friendship (not helped by Jonathan Rhys Meyers’ meddling) really helped it stand out from the rest of western cinema’s bland cliched characters and relationships. 
So while I struggled with some of it, it was definitely a breath of fresh air and a fascinating look at mental illness at the (legal) drug culture that we have not only in the US (although it could be worse, I’m not sure) but here in the UK too. 

Score: 7/10

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