Moore contemplates a sequel praising French phallic symbols.

Golden Mug

Best Documentary

Theatrical Release Date: 06/22/2007
Director: Michael Moore

Michael Moore is a polarizing person. Not only does he pander to the left and piss off the right, but it’s come to light his twisting of facts and over embellishing of the truth in two of his past movies “Roger and Me” and “Fahrenheit 9/11″. However, I haven’t heard that many attacks on “Bowling for Columbine”.

I used to really admire Moore for making an unpopular type of movie compelling enough to deserve theatrical release, but I lost a lot of faith in him when I learned he was completely distorting major parts of his movies while still calling it a documentary.

Ok, so we’ll get to this movie titled “Sicko” in which he sets his sights on the American health care industry. I’m keenly interested in this issue from many angles, so I jumped at the chance to do a write up on this.

I went to a Sunday afternoon showing at the only theater in my city showing the movie. The first viewing was sold out, so we killed 3 hours until the next showing. Before it started, it was obvious that something was different. I’d seen the last two of his major release “documentaries” on the big screen, and it was very clear that there was a completely different demographic at this film. Most of the people attending the film were older. Most in the 60+ years old range.

Then the film started, and it’s a little different than his past films. While all of his films have had a specific target, this one is a little broader. But with that, it’s also something that we’ve all had some level of experience in whether you’re in America or not.

Here’s a short, short synopsis of the film.

It begins examining uninsured Americans. Then insured Americans. Then the drug/insurance companies. Then the elected politicians get some focus. Then the socialized systems in place in Canada, England, and France. To illustrate all of his points, he ends the film by examining how societal heroes are treated in the US against how the US treats it’s enemies (the Cuba stunt).

All of this is done to emphasize the power and back-ass-wards-ness of how things are done in the American health care system at the hands of insurance companies.

Was it a good movie? Yes.

Should you see it? Yes.

Why? Because even if Moore has embellished or twisted facts in any way, there are valid points to the movie that have a very large social impact for Americans.

I’ll even go as far as saying that if anything, he didn’t go far enough in ripping apart the issue at large in many respects.


What’s wrong with this film – Moore ‘s usual twisting. But not much of it.

I can tell you that there are many things wrong with how he presents things. The first and obvious thing is that he gushes on the Cuban medical system in the climax, making it seem that much better than that available in America. When Moore shows the list that America had such a poor ranking on early in the film, you can see that Cuba’s system is ranked below that of the US.

He also goes a little too far in his praising of the French system. Mostly in terms of how the French have so much vacation and are such a productive country. This is greatly exaggerated as the French have recently elected a new president who made public that he wants to change major parts of the work policy to have a better effect on the country’s efficiency on the international market. He intends to do this by decreasing paid vacation and holidays among other things. Moore had plenty of time to reflect this in his film.

He also did his usual rounding up of the statistics for dramatic effect. But rounding up from the reality of 40-something million uninsured to “50 million uninsured” isn’t that big a deal. The point is made that there are a lot of uninsured. That is a fact that can’t be disputed.

What’s right with the film – he’s shining a light on an issue that needs it.

What is right with the movie is that it starts the mind going. A lot of the points are valid about how our system is broken in many ways. A lot of the processes of insurance companies shown here are valid (I can attest to them personally).

There are points left to the viewer to connect instead of devoting lots of time into doing it for the viewer.

As I said above, he didn’t dive too far into the muck that is there for the slinging, or the points that are there for the making. I’m not going to make them here, because it’s not my place.

The whole Cuba thing that’s been on the news recently is a mixed bag for me. I didn’t like the publicity stunt aspects of it in promoting his film, but the point at large was very powerful. The point being that not only are there millions of uninsured Americans, but 9/11 rescue workers can’t get quality health care from the government that is providing completely free and very personalized health care both suspected and confirmed terrorists held in Guantanamo Bay.

To anyone who thinks Moore is a leftie, pinko, socialist, BS spewing machine – know this – he takes an effective swipe at the leading Democrat running for president. He shows her speaking out for universal health care, and then later taking money form the health care lobby when she went into public office.

So if you ever think there’s a possibility of being sick, caring for someone who will be sick, run for public office, or want information on the topic, then go see the movie. I’m giving it a 3 of 5.

Why just a three? Because as a documentary, it’s not very good. It’s feels exclusionary and lopsided in the fact that Moore is just presenting his side and not much else. But the social importance is way up there around 5. And even if you don’t like Moore and the things he has said in the past, it’s the issue here that’s important. While his process may be flawed, he picks topics that are very socially important with points that need to be examined by society at large regardless of how he presents it.