Nurse Ratched, My Hero: 4 Female Movie Villains I Love
Nurse Ratched in One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest (1975)
It's 1963. You're a smart, capable woman, but were told all your life -- by guidance counselors less clever than you are, or perhaps your own embittered mother -- that your only career options are teaching or nursing.
So you finished nursing school at the top of your class. You've adopted an impeccable, ice queen persona to deflect the unwanted attention of coarse, creepy doctors (some of whom strike you as troublingly dimwitted).
Most of your fellow nurses dream of marrying such a doctor and getting to retire in luxury from the daily grind of bedpans and ingrates.
You don't entertain such daydreams. Men find your self-containment repellent.
Your job doesn't pay very much, but it is your whole world.
A world of dealing with weird, weak, helpless men in diapers all day.
Some of whom waste your valuable time, and the state's resources, by pretending to be crazy, the better to evade life's responsibilities, or the harsher consequences of their despicable actions.
The cocky one who seduced and abandoned a 15-year-old girl has been particularly difficult from the start...
If you watch One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and pretend Nurse Ratched is the main character — not that shiftless, fake-crazy rapist who’s meant to stand in for all the would-be draft dodgers in the 1975 audience — the movie is a revelation.
Ratched is a model of stoicism: a competent, solitary lioness of a woman surrounded by incompetent (and incontinent) hyena-like males, a woman who defies the average man’s belief that women should be beautiful and gentle only, almost an Ayn Rand heroine (except for her “altruistic” career choice — assuming again that she felt she had much of a choice).
(Not incidentally: those "inhumane" therapeutic modalities in the movie were still considered cutting edge and enlightened in the early 1960s. Just like progressives today assure us that de-institutionalizing the mentally ill -- a cause helped considerably by the popularity of Cuckoo's Nest -- and indulging the perverse surgical whims of disturbed castration fetishists who call themselves "transgendered" are enlightened, too.)
Does Nurse Ratched take time off work after a patient puts her in a neck brace? Nope.
Only faint traces of youthful idealism still detectable in her puffy, sleep-deprived eyes, does she quit her thankless job in petulant disillusionment? No again.
I love you, Nurse Ratched. You're my hero.