Friday, December 7, 2007

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975)

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest is one of three movies to win all five major Academy Awards (Picture, Actor, Actress, Director, Screenplay). Since I saw the play in college, I knew the story and knew what to expect, so I was mostly watching this one for the acting, which was stellar without exception.

Louise Fletcher's portrayal of Nurse Ratched, in particular, was amazing. According to the special features, the cast and crew were encouraged to spend most of their time getting to know the patients and staff at the hospital it was filmed at. Fletcher must have paid close attention. I recognized many of the tricks she used to manipulate the patients on her ward. For instance, taking a vote is always a surefire way to stop an upstart. On my unit at work, we have on patient who will say no to everything, another who will say yes to everything, one who always insists she's watching the show but cannot name a single thing that happened, and two more who will throw conniptions if they don't get to watch their programs but will leave the room until it's over. Staff can control any vote, and it's difficult for patients to argue with them.

I liked the play when I watched it in college. I watched it a little differently now that I've worked in a mental hospital myself.

Also, Jack Nicholson in The Departed isn't worthy to be Jack Nicholson in One...'s understudy.

Nothing left to do now but update the Board.

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