I had to do some background reading on this because although the performances were really, really good, I felt like I was missing something in the epicness of it.
Obviously the treatment of people with mental health problems in previous decades is absolutely terrifying – it was scary to think this wasn’t so long ago – the electrocution scene for one is quite upsetting but Nicholson’s jarring performance really has it nailed.
I loved how the background stories of each character, particularly Billy’s, isn’t spelled out literally to you. A lot of people don’t have a real understanding of mental illness anyway and try to pin a REAL REASON on why some people have different levels of what they can and can’t cope with, so I really liked the subtle hints at each character’s background. To make it obvious that Billy’s problems and anxieties all stem from a troubled family life (that’s what I got anyway) would have made it not very believable.
But it’s nice that they showed the effects of living communally, communicating and feeling connected to each other improves the wellbeing of human beings.
I hated the nurse, don’t even think it needs to be said – and although she is the ultimate evil, and an excellent villain, I don’t think her performance was worth the Oscar it got? It’s very easy to act detached…
Ultimately I found it just as uplifting as unnerving – which is probably the point. And yes I’m going to get my hands on the book.
Yel’s rating: 4/5
See where I’m up to in my film challenge.