With his 2009 film 'Capitalism: A Love Affair,' Michael Moore once again demonstrated a knack for locating and highlighting the plight of the nameless, faceless ordinary Americans who are virtually ignored by the mass media and most politicians, and who have few if any opportunities to tell their stories. He honed this skill in several previous films and it has become more or less formulaic. This review takes a look at Moore's previous film, 'Sicko' (2007), in which he examines the contentious issue of health care in America. Although nearly 50 million Americans have no health insurance and thousands will die every year because they are uninsured, ‘Sicko’ is also about the 250 million American citizens who do have health insurance, but for whom the system is tragically dysfunctional, and point often lost on the interminable election year debates about healthcare.
Michael Moore has his devotees and detractors, and his work is difficult to encapsulate in a short review. What’s clear is that he provides a valuable comparative look at international health care that few are privy to. Several clips from ‘Sicko’ are available on viral media sites, and the trailer can be viewed on the official website. The special edition DVD has in addition to the main feature a number of extra features worth viewing in their own right, some of which provide further evidence of Moore’s conclusions and his responses to detractors.
[This review is by Yusef Progler and originally appeared in the Journal of Research in Medical Sciences, vol. 13, no. 5, 2008.]