I'm happy to report that Peter Nicks' timely observational E.R. doc "The Waiting Room" survived through its Kickstarter campaign. Early on Friday, it looked as though the award-winning doc might not make it in its fight to raise $70,000 to aid in its theatrical rollout. But fans and funders came through in support of this important documentary: a deeply empathic view of America's dysfunctional medical system, where both the uninsured and their emergency healthcare providers are doing their best with the limited hand they've been dealt.
If there's anything to criticize in Nicks' portrait of 24 hours in the life of an Oakland E.R., it's that just about everyone–from the committed nurses and doctors to the ailing patients from all walks of life—comes across profoundly likable. As the "institution of last resort," as one doctor calls the emergency room, this one looks pristine and amazingly caring.
"The Waiting Room" is not — as I suspected it might be — a scathing indictment of our medical system a la Michael Moore. Rather, it is a loving mosaic of American humanity. For all the presidential campaign claptrap surrounding the "American people," "The Waiting Room" puts a beautifully human face on that cliche–the 99% are who struggling to survive.
What makes me truly sick is that the Republican Party and Fox News and their conservative minions could watch this movie and still believe that America's safety net should be even more underfunded.
Landmark Theaters will be booking the film this fall in several markets including Boston, DC, Minneapolis and Seattle.