Sicko (2007)

DVD Cover (The Weinstein Company)
Genres: Culture & Society, Documentary, Medicine, Politics & Government, Social Issues
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Michael Moore Michael Moore
Michael Moore Michael Moore
Tucker Albrizzi Tucker Albrizzi
Tony Benn Tony Benn
George W. Bush George W. Bush
Reggie Cervantes Reggie Cervantes

6.8 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Review by bluemeanie
Added: July 06, 2007
Love him or hate him, the cinema has no greater provocateur than Michael Moore. The man could find controversy in a locker room fart because he digs and digs until he uncovers what he considers to be the truth of the matter. Many times, what he considers to be the truth and what others consider to be the truth are worlds apart - but he gets there nevertheless. Besides, filmmaking isn't about agreeing with the filmmaker - it's about accepting that there are differing opinions to yours, and also about having a good time. Moore certainly knows how to insight that. You take documentary filmmakers like Werner Herzog and Errol Morris - these are guys who tackle serious issues in offbeat manners, or bizarre issues in serious manners. They are not really trying to expose a greater evil in their work. Moore is all about exposing the greater evil; exposing that evil, punishing that evil and making sure that evil thinks twice before it practices its evil ever again. With "Roger & Me", that evil was in the form of GM CEO Roger Smith, whom Moore hounded for an interview for months; the victim was his hometown of Flint, Michigan. With "Bowling for Columbine", the evil was mindless violence, personified in the Columbine High School shootings; the victims were the whole of the United States; and with "Fahrenheit 9/11", the evil was George W. Bush, plain and simple; the victims were, also, the whole of the United States. With "Sicko", Moore tackles the health care system head-on, doesn't relent and gives us yet another documentary masterpiece.

If you live in the United States, the odds are unbelievably high that you've had some kind of negative encounter with your health care provider, assuming you are fortunate enough to actually have health coverage. Personally, I have health care. My co-pay is low, my deductible is not too absurd; I pay about $140.00 per month for this health care coverage. But, I also have friends who have no form of medical insurance whatsoever, and they are constantly living with the fear that they are going to get sick or get injured or be involved in some kind of serious accident, and then they're going to be screwed. However, the cost of obtaining this medical insurance is either unaffordable or impossible because of 'pre-existing medical conditions'. Having health care coverage offers peace of mind to a person. It's amazing to think of how many people out there have no peace of mind in regards to their health care coverage. All they have is fear. At it's heart, "Sicko" is for all the men and women of the United States who do have health care, so they can see the affects of the system on all the men and women who do not have health care. Moore has this idealistic notion that the big fish will help the small fish and that we will pass down to one another. Why not? It works in places like France and Canada. Why can't Americans utilize the same strategy?

In his approach to the system, Moore explores three angles: (01) problems that average Americans have with their insurance companies. Here we see everything from a little girl who is denied coverage when she has an insanely high fever and eventually dies because of it, to a woman with a brain tumor who is told that her condition is 'not life threatening'. We see men and women who have everything going for them, until their provider decides they don't want to pay. We see men and women who work for these companies brought to tears because they know that their claim denials might have contributed to the deaths of other Americans; (02) how much better health care in other countries is compared to the United States. Moore goes to Canada, where he dispels many myths regarding their system. He can't find a Canadian who doesn't love the health care system in their country. He goes to Great Britain, where we meet some of the most content human beings on the planet when it comes to their system. One former member of Parliament makes one of the best points in the film - "If we can spend so much money to go over and kill people, why can't we spend just as much money to help people?" Moore even travels to France, where the French enjoy probably the best health care system in the world. Men and women are so secure with themselves because they know they are covered for any crisis that might arise. In these three countries alone, we see how American pales in comparison. Even in the third world country that Moore visits at the end of the film, the experience is far superior to the American experience; (03) how America truly treats people who need medical assistance. Moore focuses on three 9/11 rescue workers who have not been receiving adequate health care in the United States. Two have pulmonary problems from the debris and the fumes from the rubble, and one has been grinding his teeth from the nightmares he has. Moore takes them to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where he wants them to receive the same level of treatment as all of the terrorist detainees, who receive a king's medical facility. When they are ignored, he takes them into Cuba and a local hospital, where each one of them is given the best of care, the proper medicine and the proper diagnosis for their condition. In this same instance, we see how politics have won out over humanity. No wonder Moore is in trouble for going to Cuba. Imagine Americans knowing how gracious and caring the Cuban people really are?

This documentary is important. It's important to every American who has health insurance and to every American who doesn't. Moore's solution is pretty simple. He thinks America should start putting its people first. A Frenchman makes a good point - "In France, the government is scared of the people; in America, the people are scared of the government". In a democracy, the government should heed to the call of the people. Love him or hate him, Michael Moore makes films that challenge people. He makes motion pictures that go beyond the typical conveniences of entertainment and accessibility. He wants to inspire people to do better. He wants to show people that they might not have the whole story. He wants people to support the same idea of a country that he has in his mind, and it's a country that really isn't very bad at all. Does that mean he wants to head towards government sponsored medical care? It works in Canada. It works in France. It works the world over, so why won't it work here? "Sicko" is the finest documentary of the year, and even better than Moore's last film. It should help with the progression of health care reform. It should be a call to arms for Americans. Will it be? I guess that part's up to you.

Alex P #1: Alex P - added 07/07/2007, 08:12 AM
if you research a bit you find out that most everything he says about Cuba and France are pretty much lies, but it doesnt change the horrific quality of the American system. so i wouldnt take too much stock in what he says about the other countries so much, but people definitely need to realize how much theyre getting raped in America
bluemeanie #2: bluemeanie - added 07/07/2007, 11:28 PM
Actually, that is untrue. Having been to Canada and France, I can say that they are NOT lies. Sure, he only shows the best of their systems, but what he portrays is pretty accurate. The majority of people in those countries are very content with their health care service and would NEVER trade it for ours. As for Cuba, I don't know -- never been there -- but it's sad when a third world country is still ranked higher than we are with health care. That speaks for itself.
fpf578 #3: fpf578 - added 07/28/2007, 04:24 PM
Pure work of fiction. I've also been to Canada and France as well as England and many other countries that have so call free health care. The are all sub par when compared to our system.
bluemeanie #4: bluemeanie - added 11/06/2007, 12:35 AM
Then you obviously have had amnesia since your visit there.
Chad #5: Chad - added 01/31/2008, 04:57 AM
Depressing as all hell, and this is after applying my 3/4's rule to the subject matter; that being that even if 3/4's of the facts and statements found within are complete and utter bullshit, that last quarter still saddens me to no end. 10/10, agreed.
bluemeanie #6: bluemeanie - added 01/31/2008, 01:10 PM
Yeah, the 3/4 thing is ridiculous. Maybe 1/4 of the facts in his films are altered somewhat but I will absolutely say that Michael Moore has yet to tell a blatant lie in one of his films. Occasionally, something is modified, but never made up entirely. 3/4 is not accurate. He even puts links to all the sources on his website now so you can go and see for yourself. 10/10.
Chad #7: Chad - added 02/01/2008, 12:43 AM
I think you misunderstood me there. I haven't done any fact-checking on the subject matter here, so I couldn't tell you what's been verified and what has been debunked. As far as the other comments on this page? I haven't been to those countries, so I can't say how right or wrong they are.

Now, with that said, I do know that Moore has a habit of using slick editing techniques to make a point that isn't entirely truthful, but at the same time, isn't exactly a lie either. Did he do that here? I don't know, as I didn't spend time verifying the facts. My point was that even if 3/4's of the facts in here were wrong, the quarter that is accurate still needs to be seen and is damned informative.
Griffinheart #8: Griffinheart - added 02/01/2008, 01:37 AM
The best liars are the ones that don't lie all the time. Moore is a very intelligent, slick man, but I'll get my facts from somewhere else. My father is a currently non-practicing cardiothoracic (heart and chest) surgeon and, while he did practice, was one of the best of the country (his mortality rate was less than one percent). If you want to know what's wrong with medicine today, you'd get much more interesting and informative stories of my father than of Moore.

Here are a few excerpts of what I've heard over the years: "The reason the quality of medicine is declining in the U.S. is because their is almost no money in it for the doctor (with notable exceptions). Becoming a full-fledged doctor takes decades of your time and thousands of your dollars but will yield little in the way of profit, especially when looked at on a $/time basis. In 1993, a heart surgeon received less than $500 for a single-vessel bypass that required multiple hours of surgery and extensive post-operative care. That is, you would get $500 if a) the patient decided to pay you, b) you submissively accepted the check from Medicare or the insurance company (if you find that $500 is not adequate, either agency will send the check to the patient who will cash it and still not pay you), and/or c) nothing went wrong with a patient who already had serious health problems. The amount that you would receive for this surgery dropped 10-15% a year because Medicare decided they didn't want to pay as much (this continued every year until President Bush froze cuts in doctor pay a few years back). If something does go wrong, even if the patient dies of no fault of your own, it is possible you will lose every asset you own with the exception of your house and your retirement fund. This is why doctors are forced to have multi-million dollar malpractice insurance which costs hundreds of thousands a year. Other professions take less time, have less risk, and pay more money. Being a doctor is stupid."
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