Nurse Ratched and the Therapeutic State

In the history of American cinema, few characterizations of female villains have been so artfully played as Louise Fletcher's "Nurse Ratched" from One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest. Bloodless and detached, psychologically opaque, calculating and as serenely reserved as an adder, Randle McMurphy's more than worthy Antagonist in White is deftly portrayed as a creature of malignant control couched within starched layers of therapeutic justification. Throughout the course of the film, it will be both characters' unyielding struggle for ascendency that ultimately crescendos into its tragic finale, as the spirit of rebellious freedom crashes headlong into a system that has been designed to silently strangle that very hope. The Good Nurse in her antiseptic fiefdom communicates the appearance of benevolent concern for her charges -- but upon piercing the outer veil we find this not to be so. From Kesey's novel we learn that Ratched has spent years acquiring the correct mix of doctors and staff...(Read Full Article)

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