tek's rating: meh and a half

Prozac Nation (R)
IMDb; Miramax; Rotten Tomatoes; Wikipedia
streaming sites: Amazon; Google Play; iTunes; Vudu

I initially put my review under "art films," but later moved it to "mental health." There were a couple of reasons I wanted to see this. For one thing, it's based on a book of the same name, though I've never read it. Unlike many movies based on books I've never read, I was at least aware of the book well before the movie came out (the book was published in 1994, and the movie was made in 2001). And it was about a subject of some interest to me. It's an autobiographical account of some events in the life of Elizabeth Wurtzel, who suffered from depression. And... I daresay I've experienced that, whether I've ever been officially diagnosed or not. And at the time the book came out, the anti-depressant drug Prozac was quite trendy, I guess. Around that time, I think I must have had somewhat mixed feelings about whether I'd want to try it or not. I think I mainly leaned toward not. But then, it's not like I'd ever seen a psychiatrist at that point, so it wasn't really an option for me, anyway. Nevertheless... it held some interest for me.

The other major reason I wanted to see the movie was that it starred Christina Ricci, of whom I've always been a big fan. Add to that the fact that the movie was never theatrically released in the U.S.; one can't help but want to understand why, to see if they feel such a thing is justified; I mean, if it's really not that good, or what. It didn't even come out on DVD til like 2005, or something. And I didn't get to see it til 2010. (Oh yeah, also there's a brief nude scene, which seems to be about the most pointless nude scene ever.)

Um, so anyway. Ricci plays Lizzie Wurtzel, in like the 1980s, going off to Harvard. And she writes a music review that gets an award from Rolling Stone, or something. But mostly the movie is about the drama of Lizzie's struggle with depression, and how it screws up her relationships with everyone, including her divorced parents, her college roommate Ruby (Michelle Williams), her boyfriend Rafe (Jason Biggs), this guy Noah she was with before Rafe, and pretty much anyone else she meets, I guess. Except her therapist Dr. Sterling (Anne Heche), but... whatever, she doesn't really like therapy, anyway. She hates herself, she hates that she can't help the screwed up way she acts much of the time. She does drugs, her writing suffers, etc. It isn't until near the end that she starts taking Prozac (which I'm actually kind of surprised even existed at the time the story's set, years before the book came out). That's pretty much the whole plot (if "plot" is really an appropriate word for a true story). The ending is rather ambiguous, which personally I think is a good thing, because... as I said before, my own feelings about whether taking Prozac is a good idea or not are mixed.

I really wanted to like this movie, and I can't say I disliked it. I certainly identified, somewhat, with Elizabeth. I feel the way she feels, sometimes, often hating myself and wishing I'd act differently than I do, but being mostly unable to help myself. However, I think... she generally acted worse than I ever could, even if I sometimes might want to. It's weird... I can't blame her for the way she acted, I understand it. But I also can't blame anyone who fails to sympathize with her. Still... I think the movie was kind of boring, probably because it was realistic, and reality is boring. Depression... is really strange in how it can hyper-accentuate drama and still... not be that interesting. It's really a problem, how hard it is to make people who've never truly suffered depression "get it." I can look at it from both perspectives, though, so I get it, and I also... oh, I don't know what to tell you, except that I fully understand not getting it. *shrug* The depiction can't really get inside the sufferer's head, can't make the viewer feel what they feel. It's much more complicated than the term suggests, not just, like, feeling really sad for no reason, or whatever. But all you can really see is what they say or do, not why they do it. The closest one can come to explaining it is to try to show you that someone with depression is often aware of... how unreasonable they are, and the fact that they don't really understand it, themselves. Which makes them hate themself, so it's basically a cyclical, self-perpetuating problem. I think the movie manages to show that, somewhat, but... even that doesn't really adequately allow the viewer to get into the sufferer's head. So... yeah. I can't think what else to tell you.


mental health index
based on a true story