America's most incendiary filmmaker, Michael Moore, returned in 2007 with this health-care-industry exposé. SICKO tackles material as controversial as the topics explored in Moore's other films, yet does so in a way that places the focus on ordinary Americans affected by the nation's health-care crisis. After providing some historical background on how our nation's medical care system became so ravaged and unfair, Moore interviews a series of individuals and families who have had their lives all but destroyed by the denial of care in the service of profit. While there are two sides to the gun-control debate and even a legitimate discourse for how to best wage the war on terror, it's simply impossible to justify how a baby girl can wind up dead because her mother's health insurance wasn't accepted at a nearby hospital. Moore smartly allows this and other stories to be told with little or no interference, conjuring strong feelings of empathy, rage, and deep sadness.
Of course, SICKO isn't a PBS documentary, it's a Michael Moore movie, and his fingerprints are all over it. Moore visits countries that have universal health care--spectacularly so when he takes several World Trade Center workers to Guantanamo Bay (and then to Cuba) to receive health care that they were denied in the United States--and presents a compelling argument for adopting a similar system in the States. Moore's ultimate purpose here is to compel Americans to care for one another, and it's a simple request that shockingly must be made via a major motion picture, making SICKO essential viewing.
Theatrical Release: June 22, 2007
3.5 stars out of 4 -- "[A] film that will arouse surprise, outrage, sadness and heated discussion....This is a film that those of various political affiliations will find compelling." - 06/22/2007 USA Today, p.6D
"[Moore] has never before made a film that stated his bedrock ideological principles so clearly and accessibly." - 06/22/2007 New York Times, p.E1
3.5 stars out of 5 -- "Moore brings a blunt clarity to the table....Moore's brutally comic take on matters of life and death is just the ticket....Moore delivers a movie of robust mind and heart." - 06/28/2007 Rolling Stone, p.80
"SICKS is outspoken in its dismay that a country as rich and powerful as the United States should force so many of its citizens to gamble on the odds of sustained good health." -- Grade: B+ - 07/13/2007 Entertainment Weekly, p.50
3 stars out of 5 -- "Moore's populist bombast serves the same commendable purpose as ever, turning a worthy social issue into serious-minded blockbuster entertainment." - 11/01/2007 Uncut, p.149
4 stars out of 5 -- "SICKO is a shocker....It's Moore's strong affection for his homeland that fuels these howls of outrage." - 11/01/2007 Total Film, p.48
4 stars out of 5 -- "[I]mpassioned cinema....Crusading stuff, bluntly and brilliantly argued." - 11/01/2007 Empire, p.54
"A trawl of witnesses betrayed by HMOs shows his filmmaking at its most brilliant, and raises the odd bitter laugh....Moore also nails the guilty politicians with vigour and relish..." - 12/01/2007 Sight and Sound, p.91