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Here, in Sicko, we see a new-and-improved Michael Moore in his best film to date. The camera shooting-style may still be “in your face,” but Moore’s face has very little screen time. He still has that same acerbic, smartass brand of humor, but it isn’t as mocking as it used to be. Moore has even visibly lost a little weight. But most importantly, he isn’t cocky and showy. He still thinks he’s right, which is only natural of anybody with a point-of-view. However, he’s more than willing to act as someone who’s open-minded and learning a few new things than a Gnostic letting us lesser folk in on a lil’ secret.

Moore effectively decides to pull an “Al Gore” in his new movie attacking the U.S. health care system by addressing it not as a political issue but a moral issue. He doesn’t take the easy route and, instead of showing those who don’t have health insurance to attack health care, he shows middle-class citizens who have insurance and have had to battle against the corporate powers that are insurance companies. In one funny scene, a father attempts to get a second hearing aid for his deaf daughter by threatening to send Moore to the insurance company: they immediately complied with his request. Even though most of the stories have a moment of humor, all the stories are very sad, and Moore uses these testimonials to make his case. He no longer has to lecture to the audience, for we can see the injustice ourselves.

Okay, so Moore isn’t known for always telling the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Even he knows it: he pokes fun at such flaws about his filmmaking occasionally in the movie. But that doesn’t mean Moore is wrong. One can usually tell when Moore is butchering rallies and speeches and interviews in his previous films, but there is a shadow of honesty in Sicko. We feel he’s matured and learned that only by being more more-or-less honest, and not by card stacking or not telling whole truths, can he really convince someone that he’s right.

Of course, I and everyone else in the audience were looking forward the the Guantanamo Bay stunt, but Moore does something else that really got my attention. Maybe it was just because there was so much hype about the Cuba sequence even before the movie premiered at Cannes since Moore is being investigated by the government. Even though it is powerful to see his and his companions’ adventure in a Cuba, I was also very touched by the story of the guy who runs the anti-Moore website Moorewatch who had to shut down his site because he had to pay his wife’s medical bills. Oh, sweet irony. (That may sound kind of hateful, but I haven’t told you the rest of the story. See the movie to see why the story is so bittersweet.)

Moore delicately ends the movie with Cat Stevens’ “Don’t Be Shy,” asking us to not be afraid to voice our opinion about universal health care. The old Moore would have probably ended with “Wild World,” leaving us feeling pessimistic and bitter, but he has a new attitude. It’s no longer enough for Americans to be angry: that was the first baby step. Now if things are to change, Americans need to take action like the French do (as Moore shows various demonstrations in the movie). It’s now up to us, the people, to make a difference and take the next step.

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One Comment

  1. This is exactly the kind of thinking that led me to found http://www.healthcarepromise.org
    Check out the website – it is one way to help move the country toward healthcare for all.


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