Imagine THE LONELY LADY (1982) without Pia Zadora and you’d have this pretentious cautionary tale, based on Elizabeth Wurtzel's self-centered memoir of better living through chemistry.
Since childhood, Elizabeth Wurtzel (Christina Ricci) has struggled to find her own identity in the midst of an ugly post-divorce fugue between her over-protective mother (Jessica Lange) and neglectful father, Donald (Nick Campbell). Psychologically crippled by her parents’ vituperative relationship, Elizabeth seeks emotional relief through self-mutilation. A promising journalist, the emotionally fragile Elizabeth heads for Harvard with a Seventeen magazine article under her belt. Elizabeth's mother vicariously pins her hopes on her daughter’s Ivy League success, but Elizabeth is too immature to withstand real pressure. Although her roommate, Ruby (Michelle Williams), is supportive and Elizabeth finds a niche on the school paper, she falls in with a fast crowd, including hard-drinking and –drugging Noah (Jonathan Rhys-Meyers). A sucker for self-medication, Elizabeth starts relying on cocaine to stay up all night to complete assignments. Though her music reviews attract the attention of
Rolling Stone, Elizabeth burns out quickly. Having reinvented herself as a party girl, she infuriates Noah throwing a party to celebrate her deflowering and later alienates Ruby by having sex with Ruby’s boyfriend. Elizabeth inevitably crashes and goes home to recuperate, but even with the help of sympathetic Dr. Sterling (Anne Heche), she can’t face her demons. In a depressive funk, Elizabeth is forced to step after her mother is mugged, but she's still trapped in a self-destructive cycle. When she meets an understanding guy named Rafe (Jason Biggs), she pours her neuroses into this affair and begins stalking him. Could Prozac be her temporary pharmaceutical salvation?
Newcomer Erik Skjoldbjaerg's staggeringly inept direction transforms every dated
insight in Elizabeth Wurtzel’s confessional best-seller into a howling cliche. The usually reliable Ricci never finds a sympathetic center for her character; only Williams and Lange rise above this pill-popping soap opera.
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- Released: 2002
- Rating: R
- Review: Imagine THE LONELY LADY (1982) without Pia Zadora and you’d have this pretentious cautionary tale, based on Elizabeth Wurtzel's self-centered memoir of better living through chemistry. Since childhood, Elizabeth Wurtzel (Christina Ricci) has struggled t… (more)