Michael Moor’s “Sicko”

Review Essay

Nowadays, Michael Moore is said to be one of the best directors of contemporary American documentaries. He is admired to such extent that in 2007 at the Cannes Film Festival his film Sicko was awarded a fifteen-minute standing ovation (Hacker 734). In his film, director, producer and writer Michael Moore exposes a true U.S. healthcare system, where the most important thing is not to cure, but to maximize profits, even if it leads to the patient’s death. Employees of insurance companies describe various tricks to prolong treatment even after the death of the client. The film also focuses on health care in Canada, UK, France, and Cuba, and this comparison is not in favor of the United States. Michael Moore speaks openly about what is accepted to remain silent in the United States, as affected by the political system and ideology. The director describes the current state of healthcare in the U.S. succinctly and correctly and states his position about the film’s agenda smoothly and consistently.

Moor explains his point of view focusing on the next aspects:
  1. The most important and essential information, including pharmacological aspects, the massacre of the leadership in the market of health insurance services and the sale of medicines.
  2. The corruption of the aristocratic elite and bureaucracy.
  3. The advertising company or information warfare priority for market goods and services in the medical field.
  4. The true face of the healthcare system.
  5. The relationships between the issues presented above.

A clear and consistent fact presentation is achieved by simplicity and giving examples for the audience to make their own decisions. Despite political issues underlined in the movie, Michael Moore makes them invisible with a wonderful documentary flare and simultaneously gives a mordant presentation of how things have happened. Moore provides a comprehensive research to find out the state of the healthcare system in other developed countries, even in Cuba. Examples of people, who suffered from the realities of the American medical system, only highlight its imperfectness and prove the director’s position.

Moor travels to Canada, where ordinary people in hospitals are to get free help. They are treated free of charge and do not need to buy medications. He also travels to France and England, and, in fact, other health care systems are better than the one in America. He constantly asks the question how such a great nation has sunk into such madness that ordinary people, who cannot afford treatment, are thrown (in the literal sense of the word) on the street (Hacker 733). One of the main evidence is conversations with country’s residents, whose words are a true proof that things are not so good in America. “Dawnell begged the doctors not to listen to Kaiser and treat her daughter,” says Moore using voice-over, and this phrase is the most convincing evidence that the U.S. healthcare system, in fact, works for insurance companies’ aimed at increasing their profits, but does not care about treating people.

Besides giving the evidence of the deficiency of the American medical system, Moor also appeals to people by indicating that the healthcare system should be based on mutual assistance and help, but not profit. He points out that people in European countries are not afraid of telling the government that they do not like something, unlike Americans, who are afraid of the authority. In the end, Moor demonstrates the necessity of helping people by sending $12,000 to his opponent, simultaneously giving an example of necessary changes and intensifying the appealing effect of the whole movie (Sicko).

In my opinion, Michael Moor did a great job by researching and speaking to people, who can support his ideas. I consider that the evidence presented by common people, but not governmental authorities, are more appealing to his audience, the same ordinary citizens. Arguments provided by residents present the real state of things better, than official documents and statistics. Therefore, the given evidence clearly presents the topic and the author’s opinion as well as the message of the whole movie.

Two main points raised by the director in this documentary are the inability and reluctance of the insurance system to provide proper medical treatment and the unwillingness of the government to protect citizens and provide them with high quality healthcare services. Due to this fact, the comfort of life in the United States as well as life expectancy is significantly lower than in other developed countries. Comparing America with Canada, France, Great Britain and even Cuba, the public health system in these countries is provided by the government as an integral part of citizenship. On the contrary, not all Americans can have a medical insurance and cannot receive proper and cheap medical treatment, guaranteed by the country’s authorities.

What surprised me the most is that the American government cares for its prisoners’ health more than about the health of common citizens. In addition, the information that the U.S. mass media give about the social healthcare system is not actually true. It does not mean that doctors have to consult the government about each patient or similar issues. Finally, it was surprising that one of the most developed countries in the world cannot provide even proper healthcare services.

In conclusion, Michael Moore created a very good documentary, being descriptive, serious, and a little satirical, but overall with a tinge of sadness and disappointment at the country. Clear evidence, descriptions, interviews, and case studies persuaded me personally and will persuade the rest of the audience. Moore took off Sicko in his unique manner, making it funny and sad, but still interesting.

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