Tuesday 18th January 2022

Sicko (12A)
Directed by: Michael Moore
Reviewed by: Paul Fonz
The French healthcare system doesn't suck
The French healthcare system doesn't suck

We've all come to know and love Michael Moore's particular brand of documentary, except for those of us who either don't know or don't love his work. While there may be a hint of "fat guy preaching his own socialist agenda" about everything he does, at least his films are carried off with a wry smile and present some interesting points to think about.

Sicko is all about the sorry state of the American healthcare system and while it is much less globally relevant than Fahrenheit 911, it is at least interesting.

The basic thrust of the documentary is that the American health insurance companies are a massive bunch of spanners, who are far more interested in turning a profit than in giving patients the care they need. So, not only are 50 million Americans living without health insurance, but the rest of them are often denied the treatment they need because they have a pre-existing condition, the treatment is "experimental", or the treatment is plainly not required in their view. The care available to people who can't afford or are denied health insurance is even worse.

The format of the documentary is certainly something I take issue with. Moore swings between sensationalist cheap stunts and tear-jerking real life stories from the victims' mouths, leaving little room to tackle the issues factually or in and even-handed manner, and even less room to suggest any solutions to the healthcare problem in America.

Furthermore, Moore can be annoyingly self-aggrandising and boastful, which feels like he is pushing his own agenda more than he is trying to solve a problem. He is definitely out to raise awareness rather than fix anything.

So, while the film is enjoyable and, to a certain extent, an eye-opener, it doesn't suggest any answers, it isn't that relevant to UK viewers and the bottom line is that it is very biased. It's entertaining and upsetting in equal measures, and worth watching if it comes on TV, but I'm not sure the material is worthy enough to head out to the cinema. Save yourself some anguish and watch Stardust instead!

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Length: 123 minutes
Certificate: 12A
Official Site:
IMDB Link:
Release Date: 26th October 2007

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