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Cannes Reviews: Sicko

For the most part critics are heralding Michael Moore's latest documentary Sicko for providing an eye-opening look at the health insurance crisis in the U.S. Many are also uttering sighs of relief that Moore's political viewpoints are relatively subdued in the film, unlike his previous documentaries in which many found Moore's opinions shoved down their throats, ultimately undermining the messages of the films.

Curiously, even the Fox News website is giving Sicko a favorable review, though the critic is quick to note this is because Moore isn't "confronting" anyone. The most common complaint for Sicko is that in comparing American system to that of Cuba, Canada and England (among other countries), Moore paints an absurdly rosy picture of other systems in order to highlight just how horrifying things are here, but the rosiness isn't exactly accurate, either.

Check out some excerpts from various reviews of Sicko:

“...An entertaining and affecting dissection of the American health care industry that documents how it benefits the few at the expense of the many. Pic's tone alternates between comedy and outrage, as it compares the U.S system of care to other countries.

Chief criticism of the film is that it paints too rosy a picture of the national health care of the countries he compares America to, including Canada, England, France — and Cuba.”

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Entertainment Weekly:
"There's a certain robust clarity of political activism in this latest salvo from media provocateur Michael Moore that marks a new maturity."

"I know it's nit-picking, but I don't think I'm the only person who watches Moore's films and wishes they had more clarity and less hilarity — at the same time, I think that a large mass of the American public is so desperate for someone to speak truth to power that they'll settle for someone willing to say anything to it, no matter how specious or muddled.

It's that tone -- of selfless self-celebration, of public altruism, of snide sensitivity — that undercuts a lot of Moore's work, and it undermines Sicko. I don't expect a film to solve the American health care crisis, but even as a call to arms, Sicko's more muddled and muted and scattered than it should be. Moore may be challenging the system, but he still feels like the guy who brought a clown's squirting flower and a joy buzzer to a knife fight and then wonders out loud why he lost."

Fox News:
"Filmmaker Michael Moore's brilliant and uplifting new documentary, Sicko, deals with the failings of the U.S. healthcare system, both real and perceived. But this time around, the controversial documentarian seems to be letting the subject matter do the talking, and in the process shows a new maturity.

Unlike many of his previous films... Sicko works because in this one there are no confrontations. Moore smartly lets very articulate average Americans tell their personal horror stories at the hands of insurance companies. The film never talks down or baits the audience."

Huffington Post:
“Here's what Moore found. Care ‘doesn't depend on your premiums, it depends on your needs,’ the film reports. You don't have to check your health security at the door, or mortgage your future when at your most sick and vulnerable.
Moore's not even afraid of the inevitable complaints about ‘socialized’ medicine. ‘Back home in America we're socializing lots of things,’ Sicko finds, among them our fire and police service, Social Security checks, and even the library.”


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