Review by Michael Jacobson
Christina Ricci, Jason Biggs, Michelle Williams, Jessica Lange, Anne
Director: Erik Skjoldbjaerg
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen 1.85:1
Features: Anatomy of a Scene
Length: 95 Minutes
Release Date: July 5, 2005
you had any drugs in the last 24 hours?"
I guess I snorted some coke and smoked some pot, but you know...that was just to
make the ecstasy last longer."
was a long, strange trip for Elizabeth Wurtzel, and it was a long, strange trip
getting the movie based on her book in front of audiences.
Prozac Nation chronicled her early college years, where depression
nearly destroyed her and robbed her of all her promise.
It was made into a film and scheduled for release in 2001, but never came
out...partly because of the difficult-to-like nature of Wurtzel as a character,
but also because her remarks about 9/11 and open disparaging of the picture made
it a tough sell.
with DVD, all things are possible, and now for fans of the book or just the
culturally curious, Prozac Nation is available in all its neurotic glory
to behold. It stars Christina Ricci
in possibly her best performance to date as Elizabeth. It's a meaty role that took courage and talent...Ms. Ricci
had to invest a lot of pain in a character that we can only sympathize with so
far. Depression is a real and
serious ailment, but one can only be trapped in the throes of someone else's
imbalance for so long.
product of a broken home where her father had practically no involvement in her
life, Elizabeth earns a scholarship to Harvard to study journalism.
Her talent for writing attracts the attention of Rolling Stone in
her freshman year, and her future certainly seemed bright.
But she suffered critically from a depression that caused her moods to
swing quickly and without warning. Her
introduction to drugs and alcohol do little to help the problem. Her mother (Lange) seems a bit too unhinged herself to be of
any help, and the therapist (Heche) she goes to doesn't seem bring her around.
the kind of person that will suddenly and irrationally lash out at those she
loves, only to be reduced to apologetic tears in the next.
A possible love interest (Biggs) suffers the most; he cares for her and
wants to help her, but when she's out of sorts, what she gives him can only be
described as abuse.
love Christina Ricci as an actress, and have all the way back to her first
childhood roles. She's at her best
when playing involving roles in independent productions like Pumpkin and
this film. Her ability to connect
with an emotionally tormented young woman is very real and very engrossing, and
for that reason alone, the movie merits at least a partial recommendation.
we soon feel like most of the people in Elizabeth's life...we sympathize up to a
point, and we understand that she's not always in control of what she does, but
we just can't take it anymore, either. As
much as we'd like to think a kind, understanding soul would help her find her
way, we don't want to BE that soul any more than the other characters in the
the book itself is a bit of self-indulgence on Elizabeth's part.
I'm sure it was a therapeutic experience for her to write it, but what
good does it do us to be trapped in her disorder from cover to cover or for the
running time of the movie? Considering the book became a best-seller, I guess many were
at least curious enough to try.
may be the same kind of people who are willing to try the movie.
I was one of them. I have no regrets in finally seeing the infamous picture
after so many years in limbo, and I truly relished Christina Ricci's wonderful
work. But there comes a point when
you just want to say "enough".
TRIVIA I: This movie features
Christina Ricci's only nude scene to date.
TRIVIA II: Ricci and Biggs would
reunite for Woody Allen's Anything Else.
anamorphic transfer from Miramax is nicely done...for an indie film, there are a
lot of nicely shot interior and exterior sequences, and some pretty handy
camerawork. Images are generally
clean and crisp throughout, with good tones and only a slight touch of softness
every now and then.
a dialogue-oriented film, the 5.1 soundtrack is rather striking...some great alt
rock from the 80s give the soundtrack a little punch, and some crowd and party
scenes keep the front and rear stages active. Dialogue is strong and clean throughout, and there's some
dynamic range at play.
only extra is the "Anatomy of a Scene" Sundance Channel special,
which focuses on a crucial birthday party sequence.