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SICKO(director/writer: Michael Moore; cinematographer: Christoph Vitt; editor: Christopher Seward/Dan Sweitlik/Geoffrey Richman; music: Erin O’Hara; Runtime: 123; MPAA Rating: PG-13; producer: Meghan O’Hara/Michael Moore; Lionsgate and the Weinstein Company; 2007)
“Hard-hitting, informative, wise and engaging muckracking documentary.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Michael Moore (“Roger & Me”/”Bowling for Columbine”/”Fahrenheit 9/11”) takes on the sick American Healthcare system in America and its abuses in this hard-hitting, informative, wise and engaging muckraking documentary. For those who might not know it, the born showman tells how the system is broke: there are 50 million Americans uninsured; of the 250 million Americans who do have coverage, Moore follows a number of them who have been jerked around by their HMO and denied life-saving operations due to vague technicalities just so the provider can profit by not paying for the needed medical treatment; he makes great sport of the politicians who have let us down by being bought off by the Healthcare lobbyists; and points out that the United States presently ranks 37th in the world in Healthcare just necking out Slovenia.

Moore takes us around the world to such places as France, England, Canada and Cuba to show us how superior their Healthcare services are and how much more humanely they treat sick people (making their systems shine even brighter by showing us a shocking scene of an L.A. hospital dumping a dazed patient at a homeless shelter because she ran out of insurance money). He lets us know that we are the only country in the Western world that doesn’t have free universal coverage for Healthcare. The trip to Cuba is with a group of hero patients who were volunteer rescue workers in Ground Zero, not on the New York City payroll, and how in the aftermath of the crisis the system failed to deal with their medical needs for one reason or another. In Cuba one patient gets a $120 inhaler for five cents, another free dental implants, and another the MRI that enables the correct treatment for the problem.

Whether one likes Moore’s sometimes smirking attitude or not is irrelevant, as this film is sensible, heart-wrenching, accessible, funny and offers a clear rundown on what’s wrong with the system and how we better wake up and do things better. It doesn’t pretend to be the end all film with all the answers about Healthcare, instead it acts as the spark that might light a fire under the American people when they see how they are being cheated by the government. Though his enemies try to demonize him, he’s not the problem. The problem is the failing corrupt Healthcare system (first put in place by President Nixon) and the politicians who refuse to fix it so the public gets a fair break instead of the HMOs taking in excessive profits without supplying the coverage intended. Moore questions what kind of people we have become that allow such abuses, people who have always been generous and willing in the past to help out our fellow man when he’s in a tight spot.


Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”