Set in the changing world of the late 1960s, Susanna Kaysen's prescribed "short rest" from a psychiatrist she had met only once becomes a strange, unknown journey into Alice's Wonderland, where she struggles with the thin line between normal and crazy. Susanna soon realizes how hard it is to get out once she has been committed, and she ultimately has to choose between the world of people who belong inside or the difficult world of reality outside.
I don't think this film intends to be cruel, but it's decidedly cold-hearted towards those in the facility in a way that's often unpleasant to watch. (The fact that this deviates from the film is only incidentally a flaw, but it is a critical problem.) There's an irony that Susanna is committed to an institution called Claymoore, given that the anti-personnel mine with a similar name is associated most with the Vietnam War. But the film is less interested in being visually or linguistically clever to notice such things and is more concerned with indulging in creepy sexualised melodrama and it's thin Forrest Gump-esque evocation of the late 1960s — of course the first car to come along was a VW bug with hippies smoking pot. Indeed, another thing the
far-too-tidy Girl, Interrupted shares with Gump (and most mainstream boomers) is its dislike for the American soixante huitards, implying those in the counterculture movement were essentially as mad as those in the institution.