1. "Unpleasant" is the word that comes to mind.
2. If you enjoy watching stock villains full of sexist superiority (e.g. the condescending cop, the cruel doctor) humiliate, insult, and berate trembly Angelina Jolie, then this may be the movie for you.
3. Mostly, though, it's a Lifetime woman-in-peril cable movie with a big Hollywood budget.
4. Yes, terrible things happened in 1920s mental hospitals. But that doesn't make it entertaining to watch. Especially when the filmmakers are so manipulative in making the patients as helpless and hopeless as possible and the doctors and nurses as evil and unredeeming as possible.
5. There is an electroshock scene. It's that kind of movie.
6. And don't forget about the child axe murders. It's also that kind of movie.
7. Is there anything to recommend? Well, three performances pop off the screen. Jolie's is not one of them, if only because she spends most of the movie crying and suffering. Reactive, passive roles like this are what Oscar-winning actresses have to take sometimes. No, the performances that pop are Michael Kelly's decent cop, Geoffrey Pierson's bad-ass lawyer, and Jason Butler Harner's creepy killer.
8. The production design is sumptuous. This is surely how 1920s Los Angeles looked and felt, all sunshine, fancy hats, and public transportation.
9. The movie's probably 30 minutes too long.
10. Director Clint Eastwood gets a mulligan on this one. His next film, Gran Tarino, will be in theaters soon. It looks fun. Eastwood's cranking out almost two films a year these days, acting like a contract director at MGM in 1941.
11. Jolie is way too skinny here. Sickly, in fact.