I'm not sure why I rented Prozac Nation
(2001), though it might have had something to do with the pretty girl on the case. The movie is based on a book that is supposedly a true story. Christina Ricci
stars as a 19 year old girl named Elizabeth with a lot of depression related mental problems who's starting college at Harvard. Ricci, who's looked scary thin in more recent press photos, looks good in this five year old film. Unfortunately that's the best part about it. Much of the movie is spent watching the unstable Elizabeth hurt other people and herself with her wild mood swings, paranoia, and narcissism. I felt some sympathy for her, especially when I saw how screwed up her bitter mother was, a particularly irritating character played by Jessica Lange
. On the other hand, Elizabeth's self-important teenage angst gets old, as does her zero to bitch in 2.5 seconds routine. Sometimes I just wanted to tell her to grow the fuck up. It's a movie about someone with a mental disorder, so I suppose I sound insensitive, but the character is written too shallowly and it gets irritating.
Near the end of the film, the obligatory narrative that mentions the title "Prozac Nation" smacked me in the face with the message. It's something about how prozac seems like buying smack from a dealer, maybe it's good but maybe it isn't, gosh lots of people take prozac, and perhaps the fact that the drug, and others like it, regulates mood may not in fact be a good thing. That last part is something that should have been explored much more in the movie, and instead we get a rushed conclusion that briefly touches on it. To cope with their most painful emotions, are people robbing themselves of intense emotion, "robbed of my tears" as Elizabeth puts it, by taking these drugs? Are we on a slippery slope to the soma
of Aldous Huxley's Brave New World? And while it's certainly harmful to be deeply depressed all the time, if one never felt deep emotional pain, an essential element of gaining perspective, wisdom and so much more would be lost. However, the movie, like the main character, was too shallow to really get into it. 2 stars.