Nurse Ratched Returns!

(Above source: Netflix)

Mildred Ratched, perhaps cinema’s least compassionate psychiatric nurse (if you don’t include High Anxiety’s Nurse Diesel), is the focus of her own eight-episode drama debuting today, September 18, on Netflix.

In One Flew Over Cuckoo’s Nest (1975), Ratched’s (played by Louise Fletcher) icily passive-aggressive treatment of patients at a circa 1950s mental institution has tragic results.

Ratched, the series, travels back further on the timeline, to 1947, when the title character (now played by Sarah Paulson) takes a nursing job at a Northern California psychiatric hospital specializing in ‘cutting-edge’ experiments. By all appearances a dedicated health-care giver, Ratched, we soon learn, has ulterior motives that are the product of nurture, not nature.

The cast also includes Cynthia Nixon, Judy Davis, Sharon Stone, Vincent D’Onofrio, Jon Jon Briones, Finn Wittrock, Charlie Carver, Amanda Plummer, Sophie Okonedo, Corey Stoll, Brandon Flynn and Annie Starke. The series was created by Evan Romansky.

If you want to compare performances, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest – which starred Jack Nicholson, was directed by Milos Forman, produced by Michael Douglas, and based on Ken Kesey’s 1962 novel — is also available to Netflix subscribers. Non-subscribers can rent the movie, starting at $3.99 from Vudu, YouTube and other providers.

And, by all means, if you haven’t already done so, catch Cloris Leachman as Nurse Diesel, the stiff-backed, S&M-loving, homicidal head nurse of the Psycho-Neurotic Institute for the Very, Very Nervous in Mel Brook’s 1977 comedy, High Anxiety. That film also rents from $3.99, from Amazon, Google Play and other services.

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About Larry Greenberg

A former local beat reporter and film critic, co-founder Lawrence Greenberg has more than 25 years’ experience as a writer and public relations executive.

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