in the Ratched, Sarah Paulson portrays the main protagonist (if such a term applies) in the Netflix prequel of One flew over the cuckoo’s nest. Ryan Murphy’s production offers a glimpse into the life of Sister Mildred Ratched and arguably weaves a narrative that leads to her days as the cold-hearted head nurse in the 1975 film.
While many Nurse Ratched – especially the movie character – would consider Ratched to be one of the most hateful and cruel villains ever seen on screen, Paulson comes to the character from a different perspective. And given the complicated past that the Ratched Writers have faked, the character is beginning to lose its hideous mysterious atmosphere (for better or for worse).
During an interview with Jake’s Takes, Paulson discussed the character. She explained the difficult challenge Ratched faced as a woman in a position of power in the mid-century.
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Sarah Paulson Talks About Nurse Ratched and Villainy
Sarah Paulson and Judy Davis sat down for an interview with Jake’s Takes, and the interviewer’s first question plunged headlong into the villain debate surrounding Sister Ratched.
The interviewer explained how Louise Fletcher (the actor behind Ratched in One flew over the cuckoo’s nest) I never understood why the character appeared on so many “worst bad guys” lists. He asked if Paulson saw the character as a villain. She replied:
No. I never saw her as a villain and I totally agree with what Louise Fletcher said. She was a woman at a time when it would have been something to question the authority of some kind of patriarchal world that could have happened in this hospital. I think it would take a rare person to do that.
Paulson explains that Ratched followed a regime she could not control, but goes on to explain that the character found itself on an individual arc that led to questionable decisions.
Sarah Paulson says Sister Ratched seeks absolution.
Paulson further noted that the character is looking for answers; She hopes and seeks forgiveness and relief. Unfortunately, the way it goes about it isn’t exactly admirable. She said:
So I never saw her as a bad guy. I really didn’t. She is a person who seeks absolution. I really think so. And there is purity in there. What she’s doing along the way is questionable to say the least.
Looking for “absolution” in Ratched, Mildred is involved in conflict – external and internal – and she is often willing to compromise morals and human decency in order to stay on her path. But does that make her a villain or just a layered and three-dimensional figure?