I saw Sicko yesterday and want to give a brief report. Because I strongly feel that you should all see it, I'm not going to go into too great of detail.
I had some conversation about the movie with Doctor Jones (his Sicko blog) and how Michael Moore is particularly good at what he does (producing documentaries that further his political agenda) and how there are views that don't further his agenda which aren't represented in the movie. This in mind, I was determined to watch quite critically.
Going into the movie, I had expected a big picture of our atrocious health-care system that focused on the uninsured as this would probably create the biggest emotional impact with viewers. I was pleasantly surprised when only a few minutes were dedicated to the uninsured and the remainder to the insured and how socialized medicine works in other countries.
Also, I have some general knowledge of socialized medicine, particularly in Canada, as I used to work with a Canadian woman and she explained it quite well to me. I've also read up on it in the past. Because of this, I thought it might be particularly hard for me to watch critically as I hold the opinion that if Canada can do it successfully, there's no reason we can't. Oh, wait! There is a reason! The insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies would stop making colossal profits- I almost forgot!
Nonetheless, were a discerning viewer (we'll call her "Melissa") to watch Sicko and make every attempt to keep an open mind, she might see a few of Moore's tricks.
I noticed that in the first half of the movie, while his voice can be dripping with sarcasm or sympathy, his narrative pretty much stuck to neutral, fact-based language. However, his political commentary does work its way into the final half of the movie, after the viewer is already pulled in. One must be wary of this.
Second, he only chose stories that furthered his purpose. From the woman I mentioned above, I'm under the impression that there are long waiting lists for medical procedures in Canada that have, at times, negatively impacted the health of some of its citizens. I don't know how much truth there is in this or what the statistics are but I promise you, I wasn't about to find it in Sicko. There were no stories at all from any citizens who may have had bad experiences with their health care in the segments done in Canada, France, or Great Britain. Yet, I'm quite certain that such stories exist and this documentary would have gained tremendous credibility in my eyes if it had presented a few and still managed to project that a universal health care system in the United States would far outweigh the negatives. Because I think it would.
My opinion after watching the movie isn't a whole lot different than prior. I think that the negatives of a universal health care system would be insignificant when compared to the negatives of what we have now.
Even if you hate Michael Moore, it is so essential to be educated on all sides of an issue to speak intelligently to it and this movie will further that end.
P.S. If you see the movie and want to do something, you can call 1-866-459-6050 to get connected with any of the presidential candidates and request that they not accept any money from insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, etc. in running their campaigns.