Christina Ricci as Elizabeth Wurtzel
Jessica Lange as Mrs. Sarah Wurtzel
Anne Heche as Dr. Sterling
Michelle Williams as Ruby
Jason Biggs as Rafe
Jonathan Rhys-Meyers as Noah
Anatomy of a Scene
Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound
Spanish Language Track
Running Time: 95 Minutes
The following is from the DVD cover:
“Award winners Christina Ricci (“Cursed,” “Monster”) and Jessica Lange (“Big Fish,” “Rob Roy”) star in this emotionally charged true story about a journey into excess! When talented young writer Elizabeth Wurtzel (Ricci) earns a scholarship to Harvard, she sees it as her chance to escape the pressures of her working-class background and concentrate on her true talent. But what starts out so promising leads to self-destructive behavior and paralyzing depression that reflects an entire generation’s struggle to navigate the effects of divorce, drugs, sex, and high expectations. Based on the best-selling autobiographical novel, PROZAC NATION also stars Michelle Williams (“The Station Agent”), Anne Heche (“John Q”, Jason Biggs (“Jersey Girl”), and Jonathan Rhys-Meyers (“Bend It Like Beckham”).
Prozac Nation is rated R for language, drug content, sexuality/nudity and some disturbing images.
If you like watching depressing movies featuring people whose lives are slowly making the spiral down the toilet, then Prozac Nation is for you. Personally, I didn’t like this movie at all. I found the story to be very depressing and ultimately pointless. I found the main character to be completely unlikable and every supporting character to be equally despicable or totally boring. In short, it’s not what I go to movies to see.
One of the most baffling things about Prozac Nation is that the ultimate message of the film is very confusing. After watching Elizabeth sink deeper and deeper into depression, we never really see her climb back up out of it again. Instead we see her rely on medication and decide that being rude, depressed, and generally screwed up is simply her natural personality. There’s no redeeming aspect of her character and no real lesson learned from her plight. At one point I thought the message of the film was that there are a lot of people out there just as messed up as Elizabeth, but that seemed to be glossed over.
Gripes about the overall content aside, Prozac Nation does feature a strong performance by Christina Ricci as Elizabeth Wurtzel. Ricci completely transforms herself for this role. She manages to play a vixen, a junkie, a drunk, and a suicidal, depressed woman all in one role. It really shows she’s capable of some heavy stuff in films. Jessica Lange is also good as her mother, Mrs. Sarah Wurtzel. The woman is so screwed up that it’s quite easy to see why Elizabeth is so disturbed. The rest of the cast is decent, but they are so muted when compared to Ricci and Lange that it’s hard to notice them. You have Anne Heche as Dr. Sterling, Michelle Williams as Ruby, Jason Biggs as Rafe, and Jonathan Rhys-Meyers as Noah.
Who should see Prozac Nation? I think anybody that read the book or anyone that can identify with Wurtzel’s battle with depression. Fans of Christina Ricci will thoroughly enjoy it, too. I also think Prozac Nation should be viewed by anyone needing reassurance by seeing someone more screwed up than themselves.
The only bonus feature on this DVD is an episode of Anatomy of a Scene from the Sundance Channel. It features a scene from Prozac Nation where Elizabeth confronts her mother and grandparents at her birthday party. They go into heavy detail about the script, the casting, the set, the filming, and more. If you’re into filmmaking, this is an incredible series well worth checking out. Unfortunately there are no other bonus features on this DVD.
The Bottom Line:
The depressing story and unlikable characters make Prozac Nation a film that very few people will get into. Fans of the book and fans of Christina Ricci will probably enjoy it, though.