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Lingvistov Films in English: Girl, Interrupted (1999) tasks

girl__interrupted"Girl, Interrupted" (1999) is a film based on writer Susanna Kaysen's account of her 18-month stay at a mental hospital in the 1960s.

Read about the film and its analysis.


Winona Ryder - Susanna Kaysen
Angelina Jolie - Lisa Rowe
Clea DuVall - Georgina Tuskin
Brittany Murphy - Daisy Randone
Elisabeth Moss - Polly 'Torch' Clark
Jared Let - Tobias 'Toby' Jacobs
Jeffrey Tambor - Dr. Melvin Potts
Vanessa Redgrave - Dr. Sonia Wick
Whoopi Goldberg - Valerie Owens, RN 


I. Study the English vocabulary from the movie. Recall the situations these words were said and use them in sentences of your own (make up 5 sentences).

to make up one’s mind; to be blue; a bunch of times; to escape; to deal with smb; to be kidding (I am kidding); outrageous; to confess secrets; a mental institution; to be depressed; a junkie; a ward; to hang out with smb; a roommate; to be puzzled about smth; to take a nap; meds; insane.

II. Find synonyms for the given words. Use the previous exercise.

  • to feel sad
  • to decide
  • to have a sleep during the day
  • to have a depression
  • to run away
  • to tell smb one’s secrets
  • a special room for patients
  • a person who lives with you in the same room
  • a hospital for insane people
  • medications
  • many times
  • I am joking. / I am not serious.
  • crazy

III. Translate from Russian into English using the vocabulary from the movie:

  1. У меня болит голова. Я собираюсь принять аспирин.
  2. Здорово снова оказаться дома!
  3. Чем больше ты рассказываешь о своих секретах, тем больше они думают о том, чтобы выпустить тебя отсюда.
  4. Со всем уважением, мистер Смит, я все же в замешательстве по поводу этой помолвки.
  5. Да как ты смеешь, Джек?  - Один совет, Люси, нечего тыкать пальцем на сумасшедших людей!


IV. Who do the following words belong to? Recall the situations they were uttered in:

-  We are very rare and we are mostly men.
-  Lisa thinks she's hot shit cause she's a sociopath.
-  I'm a sociopath.
-  No, you're a dyke.

*  * *

I know what it's like to want to die. How it hurts to smile. How you try to fit in but you can't. How you hurt yourself on the outside to try to kill the thing on the inside.

*  *  *

-  What happened to Polly?
-  What needs to happen? No one's ever gonna kiss her, man. You know, they're building a new Disney Land in Florida. If I could have any job in the world, I'd be a professional Cinderella. You could be Snow White. And Polly could be Minnie Mouse. Everyone would hug her and kiss her and love her and no one would ever know what was in that big head of hers, you know?

*  *  *

- Hello?
-  So what's your diag-nonsense?
-  Who is this?
-  What'd he say to Mom and Pop?
- I have a Borderline Personality.
-  Oh, that's nothing. What else?
-  He didn't say. Thought it would affect my recovery.
-  Alright, listen. Tongue your meds tonight. After 1 o'clock checks Gretta always goes out for a smoke. Check the mirrors and if they're clear you go down to Hector's closet. It's near the art room and it will be open.

*  *  *

-  Take one f***ng step and I'll jam this in my aorta.
-  Lisa, your aorta is in your chest.
-  Good to know.

V.  Who is who?

1. Susanna
2. Daisy
3. Lisa
4. Valerie

a. weak
b. chick
c. depressed
d. strong
e. junkie
f. completely crazy
g. has escaped a bunch of times from the hospital
h. has no response to treatment
i. puzzled about her illness
j. clever
k. deals with patients at Claymore
l. controls relationships with patients

VI. Speak on the following:

1. Who is the main character of the movie? What can you say about her mental state? Was she really insane?VI. Speak on the following: 
2. Who is opposed to Susanna? What can you say about Lisa’s position at Claymore?
3. Why is Lisa attracted to Susanna? Why does she call her Jamie?
4. What can you say about the 60’s? Was it a difficult time? What changes in history did this time bring?
5. Speak about the other patients of the hospital. What are their problems? What can you say about Polly? Georgina?
6. What was the problem with Daisy? Why did she commit suicide? Was she recovered when she was released? What was Lisa’s role in it? Why did Lisa “press the button”?

Lisa: [to Daisy] Help me understand, Dais 'cause, I thought you didn't do Valium. Tell me how this safety net is working for you. Tell me that you don't take that blade and drag it across your skin and pray for the courage to press down. Tell me how your *daddy* helps you cope with that. Illuminate me.

7. What is the climax of the movie? Why did Lisa steal Susanna’s journal? What did she want to prove to Susanna?

-  What are you doing Lisa?
-  Playing the villain, baby, just like you want. I try to give you everything you want.
-  No you don't.
-  You wanted your file, I found you your file. You wanted out, I got you out. You needed money, I found you some. I'm f***ng consistent - I told you the truth-I didn't write it down in a f***g book! I told you to your face. And I told Daisy to her face - what everybody knew and wouldn't say, and she killed herself. And I played the f***ng villain, just like you wanted.
-  Why would I want that?
-  Because it makes you the good guy, sweet pea.

8. Why is the movie called “Girl, Interrupted”.

VII. Express your personal attitude to the movie. Did you like it? Why? Review people’s comments on the Internet and write an essay on this movie. The headings below can help you with that:

  • Watching “Girl, Interrupted”
  • “Was I ever crazy? May be… or may be life is…” [on the character of Susanna Kaysen]
  • “I’m not really dead” [on the character of Lisa Rowe]
  • Psychological disorders and their origin