Prozac Nation

June 13th, 2003


Prozac Nation

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Christina Ricci at event of Prozac NationChristina Ricci at event of Prozac NationJason Biggs at event of Prozac NationChristina Ricci at event of Prozac NationJason Biggs at event of Prozac NationJason Biggs at event of Prozac Nation

A young woman struggles with depression during her first year at Harvard. Based on Elizabeth Wurtzel's novel.

Release Year: 2001

Rating: 6.2/10 (7,976 voted)

Director: Erik Skjoldbjærg

Stars: Christina Ricci, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Jessica Lange

Elizabeth "Lizzie" Wurtzel is a teenager accepted into Harvard with a scholarship in journalism. She has been raised by her divorced mother Mrs. Wurtzel since she was two years old, but she misses her father and feels needy and depressive. When she joins the university, she lives with a roommate Ruby and has her sexual initiation with Noah. Her article for the local column in Crimson newspaper is awarded by Rolling Stone magazine. Lizzie becomes abusive in sex and drugs, and her existential crisis and depression increases and she hurts her friends and her mother that love her, while dating Rafe. Mrs. Wurtzel sends her to an expensive psychiatric treatment with Dr. Sterling, in spite of having difficulties paying for her medical bills and therapy sessions. After a long period of treatment under medication, and suicide attempt, Lizzie stabilizes and adjusts to the real world.

Writers: Elizabeth Wurtzel, Galt Niederhoffer

Christina Ricci - Elizabeth
Jason Biggs - Rafe
Anne Heche - Dr. Sterling
Michelle Williams - Ruby
Jonathan Rhys Meyers - Noah (as Jonathan Rhys-Meyers)
Jessica Lange - Mrs. Wurtzel
Jesse Moss - Sam
Nicholas Campbell - Donald (as Nick Campbell)
Zoe Miller - Elizabeth at 12
Sheila Paterson - Grandmother
Rob Freeman - Mister Cool
Nicole Parker - Waitress (as Nicole Parker Smith)
Frida Betrani - Julia
Klodyne Rodney - Nurse
Ian Tracey - Rolling Stone Editor

Taglines: Pledge allegiance. Life's a drag.

Release Date: 13 June 2003

Filming Locations: Boston, Massachusetts, USA

Box Office Details

Budget: $9,000,000 (estimated)

Technical Specs

Runtime:  | Canada: (Toronto International Film Festival)

Did You Know?

Filmed in 2000, Miramax films planned on releasing the film in late 2001, but shelved it indefinitely in the US. A number of reasons were given for the delay, from the unlikeable nature of the central heroine to writer Elizabeth Wurtzel's offensive comments about 9/11, to the fact that Wurtzel noted that the movie was "horrible." The movie finally debuted on the Starz! network in 2005 when, following the exit of Harvey Weinstein and Bob Weinstein from Miramax, all pending films were released, in one form or another.

Anachronisms: When Elizabeth looks down below from the hospital balcony, several cars are shown. One of them is a modern-day (non-1980s) taxi cab.

Mrs. Wurtzel: Why do you do this to me?
Elizabeth: [at the top of her lungs] 'Cause i'm not your goddamned monkey!

User Review

read the book instead

Rating: 5/10

I think I should start by stating that I was hungry for this film, the book Prozac Nation, which chronicles Elizabeth Wurtzel's battle with depression, meant so much to me and each delay to the film (and there were many) only served to increase my desire to see it. Then I watched it…. and from the opening scene my heart sank.

But lets get things straight first, it is a good film, probably would never win any awards but there are worse ways to kill a couple of hours. The performances, from a cast that includes Jessica Lange and Anne Heche, are solid (although somewhat unfairly Jason Biggs will always be the guy who humped the pie in my eyes) and in the case of Christina Ricci, who played Wurtzel herself, exceptional, the soundtrack's cool (well it does include The Pretenders, Lou Reed and Bruce Springsteen after all) and if you haven't read the book you'll probably like, maybe even love, it. However therein lies the problem, a film based on an international bestseller is surely aiming itself at a target audience of its readers and for this film that's the very people who are least likely to enjoy it. The film sucks out all the depth that made the book so brilliant and so important to millions, for example, instead of being a emotionally messed up young woman who fears abandonment and uses sex and anger as defence mechanisms, Wurtzel becomes a bitchy, whiny slut who is difficult to relate to or feel sympathy for. Furthermore the time constraints lead the film to focus solely on the Harvard years cutting out the important childhood/teen years and leading to a resolution which occurs far to early making depression seem like a problem which can be solved within a year. However I suppose the biggest problem the film has to overcome is the fact that reading Prozac Nation is a highly personal and private thing, meaning no film will be able to compare to the one the readers have already seen in their heads.


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