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REEL CRITIC:Health care given once over in 'Sicko'

July 18, 2007

If you've ever been sick, think you might get sick or know someone who has been sick, do something for your mental health and buy a ticket for "Sicko." It's the healthiest movie you'll see all summer.

"Sicko" is a 113-minute documentary about the disaster that is the American health care system. Controversial director Michael Moore breaks down what went wrong and why America ranks so low when it comes to health care for our citizens. The film is insightful, entertaining, heart-breaking and also one of the most important films I've ever seen.

Believe it or not, I did not make enough money acting in the last 12 months to be covered by my union's health plan and therefore I pay for my own health insurance. I recently had knee surgery and even with my coverage I'm still buried in a mountain of medical bills. Because of my experience, I was personally motivated to see "Sicko".

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What I witnessed on the screen made my friend Brady and me sick to our stomachs. We are in the middle of a health emergency in this country and most people at our theater were standing in line like sheep to see the newest Disney cartoon. I'm so glad we broke away from the flock to watch this masterpiece.

Moviegoers may shy away from seeing "Sicko" because of Moore's past attacks against the Bush administration. Surprisingly, he doesn't bag on

Bush that much and saves some of his biggest punches for Hilary Clinton and her questionable practices regarding donations from health insurance companies.

Lots of people make a living attacking Moore and the biggest twist in the film exploits this phenomenon.

That's all I'm going to say. You'll have to see the movie to understand.

I can't lie. "Sicko" is an extremely depressing experience. Because of the importance of the issue, Moore keeps things serious and most of the comedy that was in his previous documentaries is not in this film.

It's very tough to joke when a main plot point is about the substandard care we are giving Sept. 11 firefighters from ground zero. Moore even sneaks these people into Cuba to hammer home that point and the cameras are along for the ride.

"Sicko" is not a fancy, big-time Hollywood production and when it ended, I had more questions than answers. Moore shows us what is wrong with the system but does not offer any solutions.

It's a unique way to make a documentary.

Matt's diagnosis: "Sicko" is the perfect entertainment prescription for knowledge and insight into a health care crisis that is spreading like cancer throughout our great nation.


  • MATT BELLNER is an actor and community activist from Burbank.

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