Film Review- Cuckoo’s Nest Essay, Research Paper
One flew over the cuckoo s nest
In the middle of nowhere, only a vast open landscape sits a mental institution, where a prisoner has been transferred – MACMURPHY played by Jack Nicholson. Outside such beautiful scenery, on the inside it s a little different.
For the remainder, your eyes stay fixed to the screen, set inside the mental institution, white walls, locked doors, routines and crazy men. The patients who stay all live half a life; they will never know what life will be like outside of the mental institution they have no freedom. Macmurphy is different to these people which you can see straight away, as soon as he bursts in with his unpredictable manner. He is a charismatic figure and totally unforgettable. From the moment his inmates meet him they look upon him as a role model, Macmurphy is actually normal – at the start!
It is unfortunate that we, as an audience have a tendency to laugh at people with mental handicaps, but that is what makes the film so funny.
Macmurphy is taken to the boss s office immediately where he does a brilliant job in acting normal one minute and totally crazy the next. He changed the subject a lot, which he did well in because it helped avoid the subject “crazy.”
“When they push me around and tell me off, like chewing gum in class,” Macmurphy says to the boss, “its because I won’t sit there like a dog on a vegetable.”
And from then onwards he does his very best not to be pushed around, but he learns that it is very hard when staying in a mental institution.
Macmurphy soon bumps into nurse Rached, the nurse who is in charge. He realises, whilst in a session where all of her patients can talk openly about their “problems,” that she is evil. She can say something that sets all of the patients in to a mad panic. MacMurphy is really annoyed
About this, so quietly he plots to undermine her authority. MacMurphy asks Nurse Raced if they can change the schedule and watch a baseball match, his plan fails miserably when no one votes to change the schedule.
MacMurphy tries hard to make the patients be like him. A large American Indian man who is meant to be deaf and dumb is named Chief by MacMurphy. Chief is in a world of his own; he can t speak or hear anyone. MacMurphy tries to get him to play Basketball! But again fails. Suddenly Chief talks and tells MacMurphy that he is in the mental institute because he is scared of the outside world, he has no courage. For the rest of the film him and MacMurphy are great friends, they even plot to escape together.
Another one of MacMurphys friends is Billy. Billy has a terrible stutter and is unable to live out his desires, thanks to Nurse Rached. Nurse Rached is good friends with Billy s mother so Billy cannot do anything other than what she says. Macmurphy is aware of this and does his best to help Billy, but Billy is so scared of Nurse Rached that he won t do anything to displease her.
MacMurphy was determined to get out of the institution. At one point he tried to lift a sink unit, but couldn t.
At least I tried , he shouted at his inmates.
MacMurphy has courage and you never know what to expect next with him. He must have had a lot of courage to have invited two women with a large quantity of alcohol to the institution. MacMurphy managed to get the night worker on the ward on his side and between them got the two women in. MacMurphy then turned on Nurse Racheds music, which woke everyone up and made them, think it was morning. MacMurphy then gave them all their alcoholic medicine!
Before they knew it they were all drunk and sleepy, Billy was off in bed with one of MacMurphys girlfriends, all the other crazy people were asleep including MacMurphy and Chief who were meant to have escaped by then.
It didn t go down too well in the morning when Nurse Rached arrived, she was no longer in charge, her routine had been messed up and she was in shock after seeing the state of her ward. She soon got everything back to normal. MacMurphy and Chief were still there along with one of MacMurphy s girlfriends. The other one was soon found in one of the cell/bedrooms with Billy. I noticed Billy lost his stutter for a while, whilst everyone thought he was brilliant, then Nurse Rached strikes again, she had set Billy off into a mad, frantic panic. MacMurphy and Chief had the chance to escape again but their plans were messed up by an awful tragedy. Billy had killed himself. MacMurphy went mad, he broke down, gave in and tried to strangle Nurse Rached. MacMurphy had ruined his chance of staying sane in a mental institute. She was so close to death but at the last minute MacMurphy was pulled away and taken off. Everyone got back into their normal routine without Billy and without MacMurphy. Chief didn t believe MacMurphy wouldn t come back, even when one of the patients said he had escaped, Chief didn t believe it.
MacMurphy did come back, without half of his brain. The doctors had obviously thought he was crazier than the likes of Martini and co., but was he? He had tried to kill someone!
Chief was very upset, he thought he was going to escape with MacMurphy to Canada. MacMurphy couldn t even walk by himself after the lobotomy. Chief did what he thought was best for MacMurphy, MacMurphy couldn t carry on living with out half of his brain, so Chief suffocated him and MacMurphys spirit would then follow Chief out of the mental institution, where MacMurphy wanted to go in the first place. Chief picked up the sink unit that MacMurphy couldn t lift and threw it through the window. Off Chief went, to live the other half of his life he hadn t yet lived.
It was so sad that after everything MacMurphy had gone through to stay sane, like the electric shock treatment, he had ended up in a worse state than any other man on that ward.
The film raised many questions:
What does it mean to be insane? At the end of the day what is normal? Nurse Rached?
Do we label people insane who break the rules, create trouble and act differently to what we think is normal?
How should we treat people who are different, why should we treat them differently?
Are mental institutions doing the staff or patients any good?
How is a mental institution doing anyone who is crazy any good? It didn t do Billy any good or MacMurphy, these two ended up dead!
One flew over the cuckoos nest was an amazing film. As soon as I started watching it I couldn t take my eyes away. Jack Nicholson suited the part of MacMurphy so well. His face was as unpredictable and cheeky as MacMurphys personality was. The film was funny, sad and entertaining all rolled into one. It had all the great points all films need to have. A great storyline, unforgettable characters, and great actors and actresses. I would recommend it to anyone.