Guess who we are going to talk about again…. Here’s Johnny!
Ok, it’s not Johnny, but I don’t need to tell you how I feel about Jack Nicholson.
After a short hiatus due to a death in the family that involved a trip from Florida to Canada, I am back, and what better way to jump in than with a Nicholson movie.*
As always, Jack Nicholson is an important part of why this movie is great, but he is not the only thing that makes this movie. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest tells a genuinely important story that is too often ignored or altogether forgotten about our mentally ill community. Not only is the film incredible for diving into this taboo, but it does so with such authenticity and accuracy. The film was shot in an actual mental institution where the actors lived during the filming. It was even said that some of the actors began to feel crazy, to the point of seeking therapy. It says so much about how dedicated Milos Forman was to making the film genuine. There is an unmistakable feeling of pity and hidden repugnance when one walks through any sort of hospital; feelings that I would imagine can only be heightened in a mental institution. Forman captures this, along with the overwhelming lack of understanding toward the patients, throughout the film.
Jack Nicholson plays R.P. McMurphy, a man that pleads insanity to avoid “the can,” under the impression that this will be a wildly better alternative. His time there illustrates just the opposite. Throughout the film, the untold story of the mistreatment and lack of understanding toward the mentally ill becomes exposed. It depicts a world where the most sensitive and intimate decisions are robbed from each individual of this community, to the point where someone who does not belong there, could eventually be driven to insanity by sheer circumstance. There is no true effort to understand or accommodate the simple pleasures of these patients; the lack of privacy, the level of restriction and control proves far worse than that of society’s worst criminals.
This movie will evoke feelings of pity, empowerment, anger, and despair, yet is filled with comic relief throughout. As such, it is definitely a movie worth watching.
*There is no better way.