October 31st Halloween 2022

The Good Nurse: This movie was recently released at TIFF. Eddie Redmayne and Jessica Chastain were in town for the premiere. This was released on Netflix just Wednesday. It is based on a true story from a few years ago. Chastain plays a single Mom of two, who is a temporary nurse at a New Jersey hospital with some heart troubles. She needs an operation, but ironically, doesn’t have health coverage. As a Canadian I note that these stories, and others like Breaking Bad, wouldn’t happen in Canada because people have socialized health coverage. The same is true in other Westernized countries. In short, Chastain’s character Anna would have health coverage and would be able to get the operation that she needs. The early part of this story establishes this sad fact. She has a new co-worker, Redmayne, join her and he offers to help her out for the four months before she can become full time and have the covered and necessary insurance.

Chastain works her shifts and there are a number of deaths on her ward which are quite unusual. Unusual in that the patient seemed to be doing relatively well, and then they take a sudden turn. It surprises the families involved and in one instance the police are asked to investigate. The detectives ask some questions and get nowhere with the hospital’s administration.

One thing that I can say is annoying, is how Chastain is grabbing at her chest and looking distressed. But is that really how a heart issue shows itself? I doubt it. I also suspect that going into a dark room near work would be the solution. You ARE in a hospital. I would think that there would be a doctor who may be able to provide some insight, without it costing the nurse her job.

The hospital administrators in this whole thing are shown to be a real part of the problem. Avoiding liability and obviously putting their collective heads in the sand as things unfold. They don’t want to know. They drag their feet, they don’t share basic file information with the police. It borders on obstruction of justice.

Meanwhile I have to admit that I was pleased that as things unfolded, that they didn’t succumb to the temptatation to add some chase scene, with a looming bad guy with the person looking to put then pieces together; think Pelican Brief or something like that. Real life just doesn’t work that way. The ultimate resolution still leaves the audience with pressing questions.

I think that Redmayne was able to create tension in just being subtle. No grand exhibitions of emotion. There is one moment that was unexpected but that made it more impactful when it actually happened. I think that the ultimate message is that this is a system that causes, and perpetuates in some cases these types of extreme cases. The producers and writers did an admirable job at introducing a topic that I was unfamiliar. I commend the nurse who Chastain plays for doing all of the things that she did. I question whether it would have fully resulted in what occurred. Well worth catching. It is odd to hear Redmayne without an English accent!! I am so used to his other roles, and note that he just turned 40, and yet he still has such a baby face.

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