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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman



    If the point of a movie is to entertain, to evoke new opinions, and to stir a strong reaction, Michael Moore’s “Sicko” was successful. If the point of a documentary is to expose the audience to something new; to provide the most accurate picture possible, “Sicko” was also successful.

    This movie has the power to affect anyone: a doctor, a parent, a student, even a child. And like any powerful piece of art, “Sicko” is not just about one topic (in this case the American health care system), it is about the quality of one’s life, the way a country takes care of its people, and the importance of a strong Democracy in which the wealth is spread out evenly to help all people.

    Moore has the effective style of a good journalist, as he presented personal stories that related to a larger problem. Hearing about American health care only through statistics and impersonal newspaper clippings cannot possibly affect someone as much as hearing how these statistics change lives.

    Over the course of the movie we hear from widows, parents, senior citizens, and 9/11 rescue volunteers who have lost loved ones, money, health, and faith because of the American health care system. It is hard not to have sympathy for mothers who have lost children, families who have lost fathers, and 9/11 rescue volunteers who have developed serious ailments and are refused the help they deserve.

    Moore contrasts these stories with narrations from European and Canadian doctors and patients. These stories provide alternatives to the U.S. health care system.

    Some of them seem too good to be true. It is easy to question these other systems, do they actually work? What’s the catch? Moore answers all possible questions by interviewing many different people in France and Canada and closely examining their home lives and happiness ratings.

    Even if you are skeptical that this film is factual; that health care and home services are actually free and accessible in these other countries, Moore executes his argument well enough that it is hard not to believe that there is a more humane approach to health care.

    Moore’s artistic style is excellent because he uses various music and images to prove his point and create a permeating sense of irony. It is truly ironic that American doctors get a raise for turning down as many patients as possible while British doctors get that same raise for helping as many patients as possible.

    It is ironic that American hospitals flood you with bills while British hospitals provide a cashier who gives you cab money as you leave the building. Also, the detainees of Guantanamo Bay in Cuba have a full health care unit while the rescue workers are literally being left in the dust.

    But beyond providing these facts, Moore uses upbeat songs like “(I’ve Got a) Golden Ticket” and images of American flags as a backdrop for a picture of a widow’s husband to provide an eerie and haunting sense of irony and injustice.

    Even if you don’t agree with the facts behind “Sicko,” this film at least raises some interesting questions. Is health something that should be earned? How does a more flexible, family-friendly work schedule affect quality of a life? What are the benefits of Democracy?

    Like it or not, “Sicko” will make you think. And the scary, devastating facts and stories will stay with you far after the closing credits.

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