Prozac Nation Movie Review

Some films lead a long and storied journey to the big screen; Prozac Nation led a long and vague journey to any screen at all. It was filmed back in the year 2000, scheduled for release in 2001, only to be bumped into early 2002, then to fall 2002, then into summer 2003... and on and on, setting and missing a yearly planner's worth of release dates, until it finally premiered, clearinghouse style, on the premium movie channel Starz! in March 2005 (meanwhile, the movie dotted the rest of the globe in 2003 and 2004, with isolated premieres in Japan, Norway, Denmark, and Israel). Waiting for Prozac Nation to come out turns out to be rather like the experience of actually watching Prozac Nation; despite low expectations, you press on, hoping for something interesting to happen.

Adapted from Elizabeth Wurtzel's memoir (unread by me, and despite its bestseller status it seems to be almost universally disliked) of depression and dysfunction at Harvard, Nation casts the always-watchable Christina Ricci as the self-absorbed author. The film doesn't exactly have a story; it's more about Elizabeth using college to gauge the depths of her mental instability. She writes in binges for the school paper, introduces countless substances into her system, and embarks on destructive relationships and non-relationships. Ricci, it must be said, displays skill and gusto in the areas of binging, abuse, and destruction; she throws herself into the part, though what she gets in return is questionable.

It may be that this material was unworkable in terms of either insight or entertainment, though I have to believe with Ricci and Jessica Lange (playing Wurtzel's mother and screeching partner) around, the film could've at least been arrestingly unlikable, instead of just shrill. This is one of those movies where the more conventionally pleasant characters (played here by Jason Biggs and Michelle Williams) are forced to fade into the background after they're done time in their "island of sanity" roles. When the film allows a glimpse of the Biggs character's home and family life, we're startled to see he has one at all. The screenplay, however, rushes away from these complications in order to allot more time to Elizabeth visiting her therapist (Anne Heche).

This wouldn't be a problem if the filmmakers absorbed us in Elizabeth's world. There are a few feverish sequences of Ricci on writing jags that begin to develop a rapport with the audience; we see the buzz she gets from focusing on writing and ignoring everything else, and briefly we're there with Elizabeth through her ups and downs.

But those feelings grow cold. When Elizabeth attends a Lou Reed concert at Harvard in order to write a rhapsodic review that catches the eye of Rolling Stone, the movie has the gall to show her arriving after Reed's set has already begun, and spending half of the concert at a table, talking to a cute guy. Was Wurtzel, in her memoir, only able to relate to this music as background noise to her personal dramas, or are the filmmakers really this clueless about how to show her actually interacting with this music she supposedly loves?

With all of the self-analysis and occasional voiceover narration, it's hard not to assume that the film is at least somewhat faithful to its source material. For me, watching Prozac Nation produced an ugly side effect: It made me want to read the book, just to confirm my suspicion that I would hate it even more.

Cast & Crew

Director : Erik Skjoldbjærg

Producer : , , R. Paul Miller

Comments

Prozac Nation Rating

" Grim "

Rating: R, 2001

Advertisement

More Christina Ricci

Christina Ricci Gives Birth to Baby Boy

Congratulations are in order for actress Christina Ricci, who has given birth to a baby boy according to Us Weekly. The former Casper star was...

Christina Ricci Is Pregnant With First Child

Christina Ricci is set to become a mother for the first time.The 34 year-old actress is pregnant with her, and husband James Heerdegen's, first child.Ricci...

Will 'The Hero of Color City' Be The Best Children's Movie Of 2014?

There’s a whole lot of upcoming animated movies which we’re excited about. The Incredibles 2, Cars 3 and Finding Dory are just a selection looming...

'The Hero Of Color City': Prepare For A Whirlwind Ride Into The Artbox Of Your Dreams [Trailer + Pictures]

Ever seen a crayon with eyelashes? You will have after you've watched the brand new trailer for kids animation The Hero of Color City, a...

Advertisement

The Hero Of Color City Trailer

Ben is a young boy who, like any other kid his age, loves to spend his time coloring his carefully constructed crayon drawings. However, much...

Christina Ricci's 'Lizzie Borden Took an Ax' TV Movie Looks Awesome

"Lizzie Borden took an axe, And gave her mother forty whacks. When she saw what she had done, She gave her father forty-one."And so goes...

Christina Ricci Marries Fiancé James Heerdegen In Intimate Ceremony

Christin Ricci and fiancé James Heerdegen are now married! Us Weekly reports, Ricci's wedding was on Saturday (Oct 26th) and it took place on the...

'Sleepy Hollow' Pilot Airs On Fox - Landing Headless Horseman In 21st Century

Sleepy Hollow's pilot appears to be a success, despite some critics' grumblings. The episode aired last night, Monday 16th September, on Fox.Tom Mison stars in...

Advertisement