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Michael Moore's Sicko

Published June 29, 2007 in Movie Reviews
By Fred Topel | Image property of Lionsgate.
Sicko Poster Sicko
Well, if Sicko is half as effective at health care reform as Fahrenheit 9/11 was at removing George W. Bush from office… Seriously, Michael Moore has a way of making me realize I don't have any real problems. I mean, I fret about my finances, but I don't have a hospital bill larger than my mortgage.

Movie Review: Sicko

He found people with the absolute most tragic medical stories imaginable. If a Hollywood screenwriter came up with these stories, I'd say, "Oh, come on." But people whose cancer got worse because they were denied treatment, senior citizens who take jobs in retirement to pay for their pills, some who are already dead by the time we're watching the film… It's great drama, but man, it seems so hopeless.

There is some redemption from one victim's Michael Moore-like stunt, conducted independently of Moore's film. It's very gratifying to see that and provides the lone spark that there may be some happiness somewhere.

The film clearly explains the origin of the current health care model and spends the bulk of its running time analyzing other countries' superior health care systems. Canada, England and France provide fine examples of how things could be, though it's a good 90 minutes before a real stunt. It's like okay, we get it, we want to get there. Now do something. Confront someone!

Until then, it's a more artful film than his past efforts. Moore incorporates funny graphics and juxtaposes choice clips like a Congressman's homage to easter peeps. Letters are read by well cast voices.

Moore himself does not appear on screen for a good 40 minutes, and even then he's doing interviews, not stunts. Now, that's not ideal to me. I go to Michael Moore movies to see him in action, not narrating behind the scenes. But I guess he got flak for it so he's backing away.

The big stunt of the film is ultimately hollow. Like running up to celebrities in the past, he puts on a good show but if he doesn't get anyone's attention, what's the point? A shorter bit involving an anti-Michael Moore site is fare more provocative yet it's only a couple minutes of film.

Sicko makes its point, demonstrating all of our problems and all of the better alternatives out there. It does not suggest any steps towards moving in the right direction though. This kind of mess takes a while to fix, so it would have been nice if he'd spent a little more time suggesting steps. Frankly, we were convinced long before he got to Cuba that we'd prefer to live under a European system.

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Compiled By (Sources)
Fred Topel
Sources: Image property of Lionsgate.

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