It’s about a man who get’s committed to a mental institution to get evaluated whether he is really crazy, just lazy/obstinate/aggressive or faking insanity.
The department he gets committed to is with different kinds of people, whether catatonic, mentally ill, depressed or just unsafe when alone.
The Nicholson’s character tries to make his stay the best he is, figuring he’s only there for a certain amount of days to be evaluated. So he tries to make the best of it, pushing the head nurse a bit and generally causing a bit trouble and fun. Until he realizes he could be stuck there if they consider it needed. That the doctors would hold him as long as they see fit, indefinitely. This changes things and plans of escape are all he can think of.
But his farewell ends in drama, with a suicide involved. Losing it, he gets dragged away….
It’s really worth watching. See if you can spot Danny DeVito as mister Martini. I was impressed by Brad Dourif, who is so young in this movie. And the actor who plays the silent Native American called Chief, is impressive.
So I say, go rent this movie if you haven’t seen it yet. I haven’t read the book, but it would be interesting to compare.