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Sicko (Special Edition) (2007)

A movie directed by Michael Moore

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Presents a Different Side to the Debate

  • Sep 4, 2009
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When Michael Moore's Sicko was announced, I remember all the news reports.  Once again I was pelted with, "Michael Moore hates America!" and all that stuff.  One of my friends came up to me and said, "Did you hear?  Now Michael Moore is attacking Doctors!  Don't you go see that movie Sean!  If you do you'll go to hell."  Yes, because God is more concerned about what documentaries I'm watching more than he is with anything else I'll ever do.  This happens whenever Michael Moore releases a documentary.  People will be quick to scream doomsday or something like that.  

Before I begin, I'd like to point out that some of the criticisms of Michael Moore just seem a little... dumb.  In particular, the criticism that his films are biased.  This is the one that gets on my nerves the most.  When has Michael Moore ever made his political views a secret?  Complaining about Michael Moore being biased is like complaining about Rush Limbaugh being biased.  Neither of the two have ever made their political views a secret.  Michael Moore is a self described liberal just like Rush Limbaugh is a self described conservative. 

That's not to say a liberal can't be right about anything just because a conservative refuses to believe it.  As I like to say 2+2 doesn't equal 5 just because you believe it does.  That's not to say everything in Michael Moore's documentary is a cold hard fact.  There were a few instances where one had to question what Michael Moore was presenting to us.  On the other hand, a comforting thing to note is that quite a few Republicans actually liked the film.  Michael Moore doesn't put his bias's aside but here he does what he does best: Examining.  If there was any problem with Fahrenheit 9/11 it was that Michael Moore trumped around as though he had all the answer.  In Sicko Michael Moore spends most of his time talking as though he's genuinely curious to know things.  It makes it inviting to watch, but also more subtle from Moore's usual approach.  As a result it's no surprise that even Republicans like Sicko.  

The film opens up by introducing us to a couple of people who don't have health insurance.  But Moore is quick to point out the film isn't about those who don't have health insurance.  It's actually about those who have it.  The film is mostly an examination of our Healthcare system, and takes a look at other healthcare systems around the world.  Not all of them, just the ones that American politicians have been quick to jump up and criticize.  Such as Canada, France and England.  Again, he doesn't exactly talk as though he has all the answers.  He's mostly asking questions and observing.

Moore first goes to Canada where he talks to a few family members.  Unlike previous films, Michael Moore doesn't actually make an appearance in here until you're a good ways in.  And most of the reason Moore is in Canada is to ask questions.  One of the biggest scares about Universal Heath Care is that if we go to that system it would mean we'd all have to wait months for treatment.  We'd die of the cancer spreading through our bodies before we could see a doctor.  So Moore decided to take the advice of former President George H.W. Bush and ask a Canadian.  Most of them reported they didn't have to wait days for treatment.  "Well," his critics are saying, "he might've edited out the people who had to wait a long time."  True, he could've, but the scare tactic has been that EVERYONE has to wait a long time.  I've got a few friends in Canada and I decided to give them a call upon seeing Sicko and I got pretty much the same response.  Waiting "a while" is not days or months, though they were quick to point out that you would probably have to wait more than ten minutes to see a doctor.  In short, the wait times aren't nearly as bad as most of our former represenatives have told us.  

Moore also travels to France.  I've got no contact with anyone in France, but a lot of sources rank as having the best Healthcare system in the world.  In fact, if you do a google search... America doesn't rank number one in any areas.  The biggest misconception and misleading bit of information most try to tell us about Michael Moore's documentary is that it's saying America doesn't provide good healthcare.  What people mean by this (but don't say) is that it doesn't have the best SYSTEM).  Most people don't complain about the job their doctor does in and of itself.  What Michael Moore is really getting at the heart of is whether or not our healthcare system is really as good as people boast.  And if other healthcare systems are as bad as everyone boast. 

So where as most of our representatives keep telling us these sorts of things, Michael Moore actually decided to travel.  And France was perhaps one of the moret interesting moments of the documentary.  The doctor he interviewed was paid well.  You'll notice France isn't one of the countries we're constantly getting on about their health care.  It's mostly Canada and the UK (and we'll talk about the UK briefly).  While Moore is there he runs into a group of Americans and they're quick to point out such things as how the government will send someone to do your laundry while you're on maternity leave.  Now, even to me this seemed like a stretch.  And it probably is.  

Moore also heads off to England where a man walked Abbey Road and dislocated his shoulder and got healed while he was there.  But England has interested me.  I have a friend in England who recently dropped by to visit and so I asked her about Health Care in England.  Again, the answer seemed to be, "You don't wait THAT long..." 

Of course, Moore does have to go back to America.  And perhaps his biggest argument about our healthcare is that within this realm, money talks.  The documentary hits big heights when it observes America.  There are lots of stories out there (Moore shows us how his inbox quickly filled up with over 20,000 emails when he asked people to share their healthcare stories).  Moore's biggest criticism is how Insurance Companies will make the decision not to cover certain aspects, and then how the cost of healthcare is high.  Moore also notes that we do a lot of things already that might constitute "socialism," such as how our Police and Fire Department provide their services for free.  How you can go to the library and get enrolled in Public schooling.  So why can't healthcare be the same way?

We know what the critics will say, "He's cherrypicking facts to make his points!"  Well, yes.  I'll be open to that.  But that's because Michael Moore is presenting another side of the argument.  Again, when has Michael Moore ever made his political leanings a secret?  Do most of these peope honestly believe that say... Glenn Beck would make a fair and balanced documentary on the healthcare system?  Or Ann Coulter?  Or Rush Limbaugh?  It's important to understand that Moore most certainly isn't being "balanced," and it is a valid criticism.  He doesn't even try to find out what problems England or Canada might experience with their healthcare systems.  But again, that's because he's presenting a side of the argument as he takes part in the debate.  By now you can definitely find another documentary that gives you the balance to Moore's.  I'll keep stressing this: it's not like a Conservative would present to you a balanced view either if he (or she) was trying to make their own argument.  That would not make the documentary "bad".  It might still be well done.

After hearing about how bad Canada and the UK's healthcare systems were, it was kind of nice to hear about what works with them.  And indeed, most of what you can find out there has some truth.  The US isn't number one in life expectancy, and the cost of healthcare is crazy.  If there is anything I will say about Healthcare directly, it would be that it's too expensive... and this isn't like asking to have a package delivered or going to the market and picking up some food.  This is about someone's life.  You might have an emotional reaction to some of it.  As we see people getting dumped out of the hospitals and whatnot.  These are sad stories that almost no one in their right mind would say are moral or justified things to do.

Most people agree the system needs reform, and Michael Moore's "Sicko" probes into what might be wrong with America's healthcare system.  You won't find balance, but you'll find another side of the argument.  You may want to go and look up a few of the things you're seeing, however... such as the Government doing one's laundry in France.

It's a good documentary itself.  It's been put together really well to present its side of the debate.  It might give you a lot to think about.  Of course, some will probably dismiss it based on their attitudes toward Michael Moore and their own opinions on the healthcare debate.  There's nothing that can be done there.  I can't tell you to go into the theater with an open mind, but I can tell you to at least research before you dismiss everything just like I'll tell you to research before you accept everything you hear.  The point, however, is that it's a well done film.

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September 04, 2009
A very well written, and if I may say so a very well balanced review of Moore's film. It is more than a bit absurd to assume that that Moore will be anything other than what he is when he has made his views perfectly well known. Of course I happen to agree with him, as does my son in law who is a practicing physician. He frequently complains about the way the insurance companies are preventing him from being able to give his patients the type of care they need and deserve while at the same time gorging themselves on profits. Those who fear the "death panels" that Obama's plan will leave us with are ignoring the fact that the insurance companies already have such panels in a way, where your life may be determined by whether or not they can turn a profit.
September 04, 2009
Great review! Agree or disagree with his politics, the man is a very talented film maker who tackles important issues.
More Sicko (Special Edition) (2007) reviews
review by . July 04, 2010
Pros: Honest and forthright look at the American Health Care System.     Cons: Not fully fleshed out; a few factual errors.     The Bottom Line: Sicko bears watching with an un-jaundiced eye; that is if you value your health!     Plot Details: This opinion reveals major details about the movie''s plot. We The People think very highly of ourselves.  And why not; from a very early age Americans are told that they are number one; that …
review by . April 14, 2009
documentary ( plural documentaries ) A film, TV program, book etc that presents a social , political , scientific or historical subject in a factual or informative manner. entertainment something amusing or entertaining a show put on for the enjoyment or amusement of others ( obsolete ) maintenance or support I quote these two nouns before I begin my review because I think to properly review "Sicko," one must acknowledge what Michael Moore films are, and what they are not. I think we've …
review by . February 15, 2009
Personally, I value the documentary work Michael Moore has done over his career thus far. He takes interesting and hard looks at social topics that are often muddled via that media, talking heads and politicos.    Sicko addresses a topic that I personally follow the news about extensively and watch folks I kinow struggle with all the time: the US health care system.    While I think this piece of work is helpful to open the general American's eyes to the irony …
review by . December 16, 2008
I will begin this review by stating that I am a proud American citizen, an immigrant from a Third World country who grew up in America. I have also traveled around the world, and have experienced the health care systems in other countries. I also have friends and family living in other countries, both developed and under-developed countries. From my own experiences in America and in other countries, and those related to me by my friends and family, I've come to believe that the US healthcare system …
review by . August 19, 2008
When thinking about it most people outside the U.S. would be shocked and appalled at the blatant uncaring nature of the American Health Service. I can't honestly imagine being denied Health Care because of money troubles. I suppose that I should consider myself lucky that I live in the UK, a country that puts a persons health before a profit.     Many people claim Moore to be a propagandist who's just utilising this subject matter in order to make a quick dollar. That may be …
review by . August 16, 2008
Whoa. I work in health care and I am very aware of some of the screwed-up issues out there. I see physicians' hands tied by insurance companies, I see physicians' costs for liability insurance climbing and payment for health care declining. Even with that insider knowledge, Sicko curled my toes. I'm sure there are two sides of the story. But I don't see the other side in my day job and Sicko opens the flood gates on horror stories. I cried and I grew enraged at the stories that were shared in this …
review by . January 13, 2008
posted in Movie Hype
Moore presents a very serious issue facing all Americans whether or not they have health insurance in a very entertaining light. If what he presents is true, then the American public has been lied to especially concerning "socialized" medicine in other countries.    During the documentary Moore went to four countries including Cuba and he expounds that medicine in these places is far superior to what is available or not available to the American public here in the US. The documentary …
review by . November 07, 2007
Sure, like all of Michael Moore's films this movie is more editorial than documentry. It's trying to make a very specific point (the American health care system is seriously broken), and pulls out all the stops to do so. It does so with all the usual wit and humor of Michael Moore, which to my mind is a good thing.    The movie focuses on various middle-class people who generally thought they had decent medical coverage. They usually thought this right up to the point where they …
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Sean A. Rhodes ()
Ranked #7
I'm a more analytical person. I believe that the purpose of the review is not for me to give you my opinion but for me to give you an analysis and help you decide if you want to get it. If you reading … more
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About this movie


SiCKOis more like a controlled howl of protest than a documentary. Toning down the rhetoric of past efforts--no CEOs, congressmen, or celebrities were accosted in the making of this film--Michael Moore's latest provocation is just as heartfelt, if not more heartbreaking. As he clarifies from the outset, his subject isn't the 45 million Americans without insurance, but those whose coverage has failed to meet their needs. He starts by speaking with patients who've been denied life-saving procedures, like chemotherapy, for the most spurious of reasons. Then he travels to Canada, England, and France to see if socialized medicine is as inefficient as U.S. politicians like to claim--especially those who receive funding from pharmaceutical companies. Moore finds quality care available to all, regardless as to income. He concludes with a stunt that made headlines when he assembles a group of 9/11 rescue workers suffering from a variety of afflictions. When Moore is informed that detainees at Guantánamo Bay--technically American soil--qualify for universal coverage, he and his companions travel to Cuba to get in on that action. It's a typically grandstanding move on Moore's part. And it proves remarkably effective when these altruistic individuals, who've either been denied treatment or forced to pay outrageous costs for their medication, experience a dramatically different system. Nine years in the making,SiCKOmakes a persuasive case that it's time ...
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Director: Michael Moore
Screen Writer: Michael Moore
DVD Release Date: November 6, 2007
Runtime: 123 minutes
Studio: Weinstein Company
First to Review

"Sadly accurate"
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