Review: Sarah Paulson shines in new Netflix series ‘Ratched’

The new Ryan Murphy Netflix series Ratched leaves viewers on the edge of their seats after every episode. The eight-part series features Primetime Emmy Award winning actress Sarah Paulson as protagonist Nurse Ratched.

The series has been such a hit that it already has been renewed for a second season.

She stars next to actors Cynthia Nixon, Sharon Stone and Sophia Okonedo in the horror series set in the 1940s.

Paulson’s other roles have included parts in American Horror Story, American Crime Story: The people vs OJ Simpson and Ocean’s 8 in 2018.

Rebecca Nicholson praises her in an article for The Guardian where she writes: “With acting, Sarah Paulson is scared of nothing”.

The story behind ‘Ratched’

The series is adapted from the 1962 novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, which became a hit film starring Jack Nicholson.

Ratched tells the story of asylum nurse Mildred Ratched who seeks employment at the Lucia State Hospital for mentally ill patients in California.

After this, she does everything in her power to save her brother Edmund Tollison (Finn Wittrock) from execution.

The audience learns about the characters throughout the story in creative ways. In other words, it does not give it all away in the first episode – and that gives the story depth and range.

For example, we learn about Mildred and Edmund’s childhood only later in the series. It comes out through a puppet show Mildred attends with her love interest.

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A scene from ‘Ratched’.

Multi-layered characters

The characters have layers that unravel as the series progresses, and these explain their actions and the decisions they make.

The series investigates the issue of sexual orientation in past decades.

Firstly, Gwendolyn (Cynthia Nixon) notices Mildred and professes her interest.

“What will people say if they saw two women enter a room together?” she asks, quoting Mildred.

Secondly, Gwendolyn and Trevor Briggs (Michael Benjamin Washington) enter a marriage of convenience. They are both queer but marry out of fear of what could happen if they no longer hide this aspect of their lives.

The casting for the series is on point, as no character feels out of place.

As the star of the show, Paulson plays her role exceptionally. In some places she is the bad guy, but you can never hate her.

Much like in her previous roles Ratched is a character who gets things done, efficiently and professionally.

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The costume design in ‘Ratched’ is exceptional.

‘Ratched’s technical aspects

The technical aspects of Ratched portray the post-war years it is set in beautifully as they rarely miss a mark.

The cinematography, by Simon Dennis and Nelson Cragg, is exceptional and includes breathtaking overhead shots of Northern California.

Costume design by Lou Eyrich and Rebecca Guzzi is classy and “pulled together”. From the nurses’ outfits to Nurse Ratched’s outfits outside of the hospital, it works.

It is so good that Paulson has shared images of the wig she wears in the series with fans on her Instagram profile.

She also has confirmed with Elle Magazine that the series has been renewed for a second season. In fact, it will bring Nurse Ratched “closer to her villainous reign”, as is later seen in One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest.

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