The Good Nurse is Underrated Perfection

The Good Nurse is Underrated Perfection. Yes. It came out in October, I know. I’m late – again. But have you all seen the Good Nurse yet? Just proves that Jessica Chastain can read the weather and it’d be worth the watch. It is in the true crime school of film like Dr. Death, Dark Waters, or even Julia Roberts’ Erin Brockovich… the movie tells the true story about Amy Loughren, a nurse, as she finds herself investigating another nurse’s quiet, murderous rampage through the ICU wards of America.

High Level Overview of The Good Nurse

2003 – a single mother, a nurse, and a woman suffering from a heart issue, befriends another nurse. Amy Loughren (Jessica Chastain) worries she will be let go if anyone learns of her debilitating heart problem. This other nurse, Charles Cullen (Eddie Redmayne) is a quiet force to be reckoned with… at once, sympathetic and supportive to Amy, simultaneously, bound and determined to kill as many people as possible.

The streak begins with an older patient… she’d been looked after by both Amy and Charlie, but when she suddenly codes… and dies, it is really shocking to Amy. The hospital board? They go into circle-the-wagon mode… liability mitigation is all that they can think about. When the local police get called in, it’s just a precaution, the hospital is following the procedures to the letter. On a hunch, Baldwin, the lead detective, tracks down all the priors for the staff on the ward, and discovers that Charlie had an incident worth tracking down. But when they confront the hospital for more information? They shut the police down, lie, and cover up… it is, after all, all about money. Dead bodies be damned. And the story is the same with Charlie’s eight other prior hospitals… Nine total. Cover up, cover up, cover up.

At first, Amy doesn’t believe it could possibly be Charlie, but when more codes start popping up, and more surprising dead bodies hit the ward, she begins to realize something is wrong. And that is when she starts her one woman campaign to hunt him down (ala Erin Brockovich). Sure, the cops are there beside her all the way, but without Amy? They have less than nothing. After chatting with an old friend of hers that worked with Charlie at another hospital, she realizes that he has to be the one doing it. And ultimately she realizes that he is poisoning the IV bags with Insulin and Digoxin.

With that, they go looking for a body. And the evidence there adds up to Charlie… but due to a defect in the way medicines are checked out, they couldn’t prove that he was the one pulling the medicine to inject it into the insulin bags. So Amy wears a wire, and tries to get him to confess. But though he is angered and obviously guilty, he doesn’t confess to anything. Arresting him regardless, they aren’t able to get him to confess either. But Amy asks for a go at him… determined to not allow him to go free. And surprisingly, Charlie tells Amy that he did it. And when she asks why? His answer? “They didn’t stop me.” Which, is a pretty damning commentary on the hospital universe. In the follow-up epilogue to the film, it is revealed that Charlie was sentenced to 18 consecutive life sentences for the murders of 29 people. But, the number could all the way as high as 400! And Amy? She got the heart surgery she needed… and now she lives in the sunshine state of Florida with her daughters and grandchildren. Huzzah!

The Good Nurse is Underrated Perfection – Thoughts

What is it about the true crime formula of corrupt big business getting busted by a single determined, and moral human being, that is so magical? I mean, it works, every single time. It’s like the Rocky of true crime. It’s perfection. Better yet, add in a down and out mom, just struggling to get by. Add in a heart disease that could kill her at any moment. She doesn’t have time for this? She doesn’t have the strength. And, to top it all off? Charlie befriended her… knew about her heart issues. Was kind. And yet, still a murderer. Amy could have turned a blind eye and moved on. Instead she, individually, took him down. She put the pieces together, and dismantled his lies. And why? Because of her own concern for her two daughters, and other children just like them. Kids who could randomly encounter one of Eddie’s cocktails. Could randomly encounter death from the Charlie grim reaper lottery.

I should probably build a list of movies that play out through this formula. It’d be interesting to see just how many there are that have capitalized off this trope. It’s gotta be a long list. What movies have you seen that play this story out?

Edited by: CY