documentary ( plural documentaries )
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 all seen the "Fahrenheit 9/11" fact books out there. Republicans and Democrats debated the artistic quality of that film from here to there. Caught up in the middle of the debate from time to time, I wondered if this is what the battle between Heaven and Hell felt like. There were so many blows to be taken in these debates that I often needed a scorecard to keep track of it all. Though for all the bickering, fighting, and shouting, I think everyone eventually came to the conclusion that "Fahrenheit 9/11" was at least factually skewed just a tad bit. Now we have "Sicko," a movie that magically, before it's big release, supposingly had Republicans and Democrats united.
I don't know why people found this fact surprising. After all, I think everyone agrees that America has a flawed health system. If you cut yourself with a knife a doctor will slap an elastic strip on it and charge you $40.00 for it. Clearly getting sick is even less fun if you have to pay for your doctors appointments from your own pocket. But how bad is it? Well, regardless how bad it is, I HIGHLY doubt it's as bad as Michael Moore portrays it in this movie! Without getting into a detail-by-detail account of how the health care system works in Moore's mind, I think I can sum it up in five sentences:
1. America charges too much money.
2. American health care should be free.
3. Everyone else's health care is free which, in turn, leads to a more peaceful world.
4. The doctors in Canada, France, and all those other countries pay their doctors just as much as we do.
5. America sucks, BIG TIME!!!
Actually, now that I think about it, sentences 1, 2, 3, and 5 were all touched upon in Moore's previous movies to some extent. Alright, alright, I know this looks like a cheap shot to Moore, but it's really not. If anything, I think this movie highlights exactly why I think Michael Moore gets far more credit then he deserves. Doing just a little research on this movie (like a couple of Moore's previous outings) shows that Moore is not completely being honest in this movie. The bad things that happen in America with the health care system are true, but they are rare exceptions. One out of fifty. Not that that one isn't important, but the way Moore makes it sound getting healthcare from America is a death trap waiting to happen. Meanwhile, in Canada's free health care system, nobody ever dies in the operating room.
Also, in Canada, the horror stories about waiting for hours is highly exaggerated. Also in Canada, their taxes are lower then ours. And if you believe all that, then I have a bit of trivia for you: Elvis isn't dead, and for that matter he didn't do drugs. Oh, and John never divorced Yoko, he took a vacation from her. So clearly "Sicko" isn't the most honest movie in the world (I'm not sure the word documentary is appropriate in this case), but so what? By now everyone knows Moore isn't making a truthful documentary, he's making entertainment. Propaganda. He's trying to make a case by using entertainment to sway us to his beliefs. If that's the case, then I fail to see how "Sicko" is entertaining. I mean, come on. Stories of dead babies, men who cut off their arms, and lousy service that we're actually paying for?
That doesn't sound like an entertaining movie to me. In fact, this movie has any joy sucked right out of it. After two hours of Moore lecturing me on how horrible my country and health care plan was, I was ready to go watch a movie with a happy ending. Like "Gladiator" or "Titanic." So if this movie doesn't work as a true documentary, and it doesn't work as entertainment, then how DOES it work?! I must confess; I don't know. I can't think of any reason anyone would want to sit through this movie. It's torture listening to all these horrible things happening, and then you feel like you had food poison when you find out most of it's not true. So I'm going to deny this movie a star rating because, honestly, I just don't know what I'm supposed to be grading.
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