Louise Fletcher received her only Oscar nomination and Oscar win for playing Nurse Mildred Ratched, an evil nurse in a mental instituition in Milos Forman's One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest. It's easy to see why Fletcher won the Oscar: she was in the Best Picture winner and she she was the only one who had a traditional Oscar role. Most of the other movies were really small and/or unusual and Fletcher's only real rival, Isabelle Adjani had a mostly French-speaking role. I guess she still threatened Fletcher but I guess she had an easy win after all. 1975 wasn't the greatest year when it came to Lead Actress performances so a supporting performance could actually even win.
One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest is a movie that varies with my all the time. Sometimes I can go crazy about it and sometimes I can't stand it. Right now, I really loved it and I was blown away. I admire Milos Forman as a director very much even though I feel that his Czeckoslovakian movies were probably his best ones. Still, he's a great director anywhere, I'm just saying. The only thing that I always appreciate about this movie is Jack's leading performance as McMurphy. He's just brilliant though I would have probably voted for Al Pacino (but not as easily as I would have earlier). Brad Dourif is quite good and deserved his nod though I wouldn't give him the win.
Louise Fletcher was a so-called "one hit wonder". It's always very dangerous to win an Oscar when you're not that famous as they begin to typecast you (Fletcher) or they just forget you when it's proven that you're not what they wanted (Luise Rainer). Nurse Ratched was a role that was turned downed by some great actresses like Jane Fonda (I'm just wondering how she would have been here), Faye Dunaway, Anne Bancroft (she would have killed in this part, I think) and Angela Lansbury (wow, I wish that had happened, she would have been so interesting). So the relatively unknown Lousie Fletcher played the part. I guess, with hindsight, it was a great decision as many love this performance.
But I'm not one of them, unfortunately. Honestly, I really tried to like her and I actually did, I just never felt that this performance was as amazing as some say. Although she has her moments, her whole work is nothing really remarkable. First of all, I couldn't really decide if Nurse Ratched was really that evil. I suspected that she just wanted to keep a distance while she was doing her job. Some say that she's the devil itself but I wouldn't say so. She's a cold, and probably even manipulative woman who just wants to keep order. She's always deathly calm and she doesn't seem to be terrified by the patients.
What I do like about this performance is that Fletcher plays nurse Ratched with such calmness and subtlty. There are no over-the-top screams by her, mostly she's just sitting and looking in a very icy way. I could say that she did nothing in this part and I would probably be close to reality, however, I felt Fletcher got very much out of this part that's isn't exactly deep. She's not amazing because she cannot be amazing as Nurse Ratched. She's a very simple, uninteresting woman and there isn't much drama about her. She's just there and we can see some of her actions. Yet Fletcher did her best to make Nurse Ratched interesting. I guess she succeeded in a way, as her performance was never that boring, I just could't see the real brilliance.
However, I did like the nuances that Louise added to the character. I don't know why I felt that but this character seemed a bit delicious, especially when she was being quite mean and cold. For example, in the end, she tortures a boy into suicide and that's a brilliantly acted moment by Fletcher. That scene impressed me very much and I thought it was handled extremely well by her.
Still, I don't know what to say about Louise Fletcher in this movie. She's indeed very good but nothing amazing. Although some go crazy about her subtle evilness, she left me a little bit cold. There are excellent moments and the overall effect on me was really positive, I just feel that she wasn't that great.
Very hard rating. She's between a 3,5 and a 4. It might be surprising that I went with the latter. I just compared her to other performances and she was better than some who got 4s.
What do you think?