Oliver Matheson’s review published on Letterboxd:
Oh, I get it now.
I don't think this is a film for teenagers. I was a little teen when I saw this for the first time, and I don't think I'd been alive long enough to understand everything at play. I'm probably still not, but at least I'm getting closer.
As a 16 year old, hearing that Nurse Ratched was the greatest movie villain of all time (as some say), I was incredibly let down by what I saw here. She didn't even stab anyone, or turn into a vampire or something. It takes a while to learn that smaller acts, like preventing someone from watching a baseball game, can be so much nastier.
Then once you understand Ratched you can understand why the men in the ward need McMurphy and his anti-establishment and individualistic impulses. As a 16 year old I couldn't see McMurphy as the hero of the story, he was too flawed. It takes a while to discover that everyone is flawed, and you've got to be part of an establishment or too to see how necessary he is.
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest has a lot to say and instruct, and it does so extraordinarily well thanks to the remarkable performances and the award-winning script, without ever sacrificing humor or its humanistic tendencies. To see the impact that McMurphy has on this group of guys is truly beautiful, making his sacrifice astounding and the results that follow thoroughly devastating.
Also, shouts out to Sydney Lassick, the man is absolutely incredible here. And Danny DeVito forever obviously.