Prozac Nation (film)

Prozac Nation is a 2001 drama film directed by Erik Skjoldbjærg, starring Christina Ricci, Jason Biggs, Anne Heche, Michelle Williams, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, and Jessica Lange. It is based on the 1994 autobiography of the same name by Elizabeth Wurtzel, which describes Wurtzel's experiences with atypical depression.[3] The title is a reference to Prozac, the brand name of an antidepressant she was prescribed.

Prozac Nation
Theatrical release poster
Directed byErik Skjoldbjærg
Produced by
Screenplay by
Based onProzac Nation
by Elizabeth Wurtzel
Music byNathan Larson
CinematographyErling Thurmann-Andersen
Edited byJames Lyons
Distributed byMiramax Films
Release date
  • September 8, 2001 (2001-09-08) (TIFF)
  • March 19, 2005 (2005-03-19) (United States)
Running time
95 minutes
  • United States
  • Germany
Budget$9 million[1]
Box office$129,364[2]


Elizabeth "Lizzie" Wurtzel is a 19-year-old accepted into Harvard with a scholarship in journalism. She has been raised by her divorced mother since she was two years old and hasn't seen her father at all in the last four years. Despite his lack of interest and involvement, Lizzie still misses her father, a contributing factor to her depression. Through a series of flashbacks, it is clear that there was a total communication breakdown between Lizzie's parents, which is soon reflected in Lizzie's own relationship with her mother.

Soon after arriving at Harvard, Lizzie decides to lose her virginity to an older student, Noah. Lizzie proceeds to alienate Noah by throwing a loss-of-virginity party immediately afterwards with the help of her roommate Ruby. Although she and Lizzie begin as best friends, Ruby soon becomes another casualty of Lizzie's instability. Although Lizzie's article for the local music column in The Harvard Crimson is presented an award by Rolling Stone early into the semester, Lizzie soon finds herself unable to write, stuck in a vicious cycle with substance abuse. She begins a relationship with another student, Rafe, but after travelling to his home in Texas and discovering that his sister has an intellectual disability, Lizzie accuses Rafe of being 'a creepy voyeur' who gets off on witnessing the pain of others. Rafe breaks up with her.

Lizzie's promising literary career is at risk, as is her mental and physical health. Her mother sends her to expensive psychiatric sessions towards which her father, pleading poverty, implacably refuses to contribute anything at all. After a long period of treatment under medication and a suicidal gesture, Lizzie stabilizes and begins to adjust to her life.



The film had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 8, 2001; distribution rights were acquired by Miramax Films with the intent of giving the film a wider theatrical release. Months of subsequent test screenings and re-edits of the film never led to a broad commercial release.[1] The film was released in Norway, Skjoldbjærg's native country, in August 2003, but it never had a national release in the US market. It premiered on the Starz! channel in March 2005, and was released on DVD that following summer.

Frank Deasy, who co-wrote the screenplay, offered his opinion to The Guardian on Miramax's failure to release the film:


The film received generally negative reviews, scoring a 29% on the film aggregate site, Rotten Tomatoes.[5]


What follows is a list of the songs that were played according to the end credits.

  1. "The Promise" – Bruce Springsteen
  2. "Mystery Achievement" – The Pretenders
  3. "I Will Dare" – The Replacements
  4. "Perfect Day" – Lou Reed
  5. "Sweet Jane" – Lou Reed
  6. "Keep the Promise" – The Pontiac Brothers
  7. "Ivory Tower" – The Long Ryders
  8. "Who Is Who" – Adolescents
  9. "The Real West" – Thin White Rope
  10. "Das Testament des Dr. Mabuse" – Propaganda


  1. Vinciguerra, Thomas (9 November 2003). "For Author of 'Prozac Nation,' Delayed Film Is a Downer". The New York Times. Retrieved 8 March 2013.
  2. "2003 Norway Yearly Box Office Results". Box Office Mojo.
  3. Wurtzel, Elizabeth (1994). Prozac Nation: Young and Depressed in America. New York: Riverhead Trade. p. 298. The McLean people have recommended fluoxetine because they have diagnosed me with atypical depression.
  4. Harris, John (18 July 2004). "Release me". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 8 March 2013.
  5. "Prozac Nation (2001)". Rotten Tomatoes.
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