Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Mags recommends: Sicko

Hello, B and B! I've been away (i.e. off the blog) for a month now, and I think it's time for my return. So: I'm pleased to report that I had the change to see Sicko this week, at a sneak preview sponsored by Michael Moore (who, I'm sorry to say, looks even fatter in the live flesh) and the Center for Justice and Democracy (an anti-tort reform advocacy group).

Seeing Sicko in a room full of trial lawyers was a particularly wonderful experience; at one point in the film, an HMO tells a woman (incorrectly) that she doesn't have a tumor, to which she responds that she knows she has a lawyers--at which point the tort boys in the crowd started hooting and hollering. Unlike his other films, there is very little of Moore's antagonistic stunts: rarely (if ever) in this movie does he try to embarrass some health care shill or reactionary congressman. Instead, Mike sticks to his story, and eloquently tells the melancholy tale that is the state of our health care system. At one point, Moore shows us the now infamous clip of Kaiser Permanente officials dumping indigent patients onto skid row, and asks the only question a sane American could ask: "Who are we? What have we become?"

Funny, sweet, melancholy, horrifying: Sicko is both shrilly angry and, in some strange way, beyond anger. When giving an introductory speech to the crowd of trial lawyers, Moore begun by talking about how often people would accost him and ask if Sicko was about frivolous lawsuits. "At first," he said, "I would explain to them that that was all a myth fed to them by the right. But it seems almost impossible to convey these basic truths to people. And you know what," he said, with a grim smile, "I'm 53 years old, and I'm getting tired."

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