Movie Review: Sicko is a MUST SEE

 Sicko

I’ve always thought that Michael Moore doesn’t get the credit he deserves. People complain that his films aren’t documentaries because they only show one side of the story. These same people watch a film like Super Size Me or, well, see that’s the problem. There aren’t that many documentaries that are overtly accessible to the public.

But I will tell you this: Before I became a movie blogger I was a videographer. I worked on some boring stuff, but I also shot footage for some reality television stuff as well. You would be surprised not only how set-up even though one camera hand-held MTV shows are, but also how much the producer does in the editing bay to craft a story out of something that usually isn’t there. And sometimes that producer leaves out many key details so that an argument becomes more exciting. It’s a common practice to create art from your own perspective, and don’t really understand why Moore gets so much flack for it.

Another thing is that most of the mainstream has only seen Fahrenheit 9/11, which I consider to be Moore’s worst film. It has some good points, but the oil pipeline conspiracy theory segment invalidates most of the movie for the majority of logical people. If you have the chance, check out Bowling For Columbine. It is by far his best film to date. Not only that, but it’s the best documentary film ever made, and possibly in my top 25 films of all time. It is so well crafted and put together. Each scene layers on top of each other, interconnecting with the past comments, like a tight fictional screenplay.

Before Bowling, before Fahrenheit, Moore had a television show called The Awful Truth. On one episode he did a story about a guy who if I remember correctly, needed a liver transplant or operation, but his healthcare provider would not pay for it even though doctors told him he would die without it. Moore went to the healthcare provider to try to get them to approve the claim. To no avail, in classic Moore style, they held a mock-funeral for the guy in the sidewalk outside the Heathcare provider’s massive building. It was just the spectacle that Moore is good at creating. And it was enough to get the heathcare provider to change their mind. Moore saved the guys life. I later found out, that segment was the genesis of Sicko, Moore’s latest film which attacks the healthcare industry.

I saw the film in a packed theater in Sacramento, surrounded by the California nurse association who clapped and cheered throughout the film. At other times they hissed at the screen when something evil was going on. It was the perfect way to experience this film. And it’s an experience I wish everyone around the globe could have.

There are a few things that most people will find surprising about Sicko. First off, for the most part, the film is not a left-wing film. It’s almost entirely unpartisan. At one point in the film, Moore attacks Hilary Clinton, who while being first lady tried to get a Universal Healthcare movement started, but now has excepted tons of campaign dollars from healthcare companies. See this is another common misconception. Many people think of Michael Moore as a left-wing nut, just as much as Bill O’Reilly is a right wing nut. And sure, Moore has always had lefty ideals, but before F9/11, he constantly attacked democrats. I remember on his television show, Bill Clinton took a few hits. Everyone was a possible target. Anyway, the other big misconception about this film is that it is about the 50 million people in this country that don’t have healthcare. But it really isn’t.

Sicko is about you, me, the guy down the street. It’s about the rest of the United States that actually has healthcare. You think you’re safe because they’re taking that lump sum out of your check each month? Think again. The healthcare industry has profit motives, and hire people to investigate each and every claim to find a loop hole out of paying it. At one point it is revealed that doctors with a bigger denial percentage get a bigger bonus from the companies.

But what can we do to change this flawed system of ours? Make it non-profit, government funded. The second half of Moore’s film takes us to a bunch of different countries that have a form of socialized healthcare. In England they have a cashier who pays the patients  money for transportation when they leave. In France they have unlimited sick days, free house calls, cheap daycare ($1/hr), a minimum of five weeks paid vacation to start (large companies give 10 weeks) and funding for an in home nanny. When the people in France tell him all these perks, Moore puts his hands over his ears and starts singing “LA LA LA I can’t hear you!”

In Bowling, Moore introduced America to the Culture of Fear. In Sicko, Moore talks about the culture of American Work. Kids go to College which cost a lot of money. To pay off the big loans, they need to work overtime or more jobs. They become depressed or sick and require heathcare. It’s a never ending cycle. The richest people in America die younger than the poorest people in Europe. Why?

Sicko is Moore’s most mature film to date. It’s not as good as Bowling, but it has a more impactful message that could put the steps in motion to change our way of living.  I could sit here and write about the statistics. I could tell you that this movie isn’t about those statistics, but is instead done with Moore’s patented humor (star wars scrolls, a juxtaposition of the wonka’s golden ticket song over footage of a Congressman turned healthcare employee…etc). One minute you will be laughing out loud, the next you will have tears in your eyes. I could relay to you all the heart breaking stories. But truth is, you must see this movie. There is no exception, every American should see this movie.

/Film Rating: 9.5 out of 10

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About the Author

Peter Sciretta is a film geek and popcultured fanboy living in Los Angeles. He created /Film in 2005.