Directed by: Erik Skjoldbjærg
Premise: An adaptation of Elizabeth Wurtzel’s autobiographical book about her descent into depression and substance abuse.
What Works: Prozac Nation uses a lot of camera tricks to convey the effects of drug use but uses them responsibly and appropriately so that they carry more meaning. Christina Ricci’s performance as Elizabeth Wurtzel is very good and she captures the bipolar quality of Wurtzel’s mental condition. The film spends a great deal of its time on Elizabeth’s relationship to her mother (Jessica Lange) and her father (Nicholas Campbell). This is the film’s strength especially in the way the three characters complicate each other’s relationship. This allows Prozac Nation to take an important step that many other films in this genre do not, and that is to explore the psychological reasons for her substance abuse; it does not treat the abuse as an end in itself but as a symptom of deeper issues.
What Doesn’t: The trouble with the drug addiction genre, perhaps beyond any other film genre, is that it ends up being highly predictable. This film follows that template and does not stray from it, although it does tell this story better than most others do.
DVD extras: Anatomy of the scene feature.
Bottom Line: Prozac Nation is an above average addiction film. Ricci shows yet again that she is one of the best actresses of her generation, in part because she makes good choices and demonstrates a level of commitment to the material that few of her contemporaries are willing to do.
Episode: #68 (September 18, 2005)