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"Sidney Lumet directed some classics (Network, Serpico, Dog Day afternoon) but lately none of his movies ever did much of a business (A Stranger among us, Guilty as Sin, Gloria) but this one is surprisingly good. It has wonderful casts that include James Spader, Kyra Sedwick, Helen Mirren and Albert Brooks.The movie started out like a cheap hospital comedy but along way the way it got serious with issues like health care, insurance, lawsuit and whether it is ethical to let go a patient that has no chance of survival. It is funny and heart warming as well. Given the price of the DVD, it is a must buy. The DVD provided both WS and FS versions of the movie but not much of extra features but for the price, you can't complaint."
Starts out comedy, ends up serious. Liked it.
Pat (firstname.lastname@example.org) | Montana | 09/25/1999
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I thought I wasn't going to like this movie, but I ended up liking it a lot. It started out as a comedy that was pretty silly. But about half way through, the tenor of the movie changed and it became a much more serious look at the ethics of prolonging the life of terminally ill patients. This part of the movie grabbed me and even made me cry as I watched the main character try to sort through the maze of conflicting emotions surrounding a decision of whether or not to terminate a life."
Great satire on the health care system
Dr. Dave | Lombard, IL USA | 07/13/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I'm a physician and I thought this was a great commentary on the health care system and not too far off the mark. James Spader gets caught in a catfight between two daughters of a dying man, either of which stands to inherit $10 million, depending on when the old man goes. Helen Mirren is the angel of Mercy/Death who is Spader's Jiminy Cricket. Ed Hermann plays the sleazy hospital attorney, and Albert Brooks is hysterical as an old physician who has the perspective of his many years. His memorable line about physicians: "We used to be gods. Now we are glorified auto mechanics.""
FIVE STAR INDEPENDENT FILM
Professor Emeritus P. Bagnolo | DOWNTOWN NYC/Chic. NM USA | 01/08/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Director, Sidney Lumet does it again. Inspirational and enlightening, Lumet highlights the struggle between what is right and what is expedient. Lumet focuses on the weakness of expediency, the strength of the almighty dollar, and the pull of conscience (for those who actually recognize that they are endowed with one), always cast aside by profiteers and how the choices are the test of character which most people fail. A great cast: Helen Mirren, James Spader, Kira Sedgewick, Albert Brooks, Anne Bancroft, Ed Herrman, and more, weigh in on profit versus Goodness, "do unto others...".
The issue at hand is one of the great ethical questions of our era pertaining to the technical capacity to keep people "Alive" virtually forever, or let them go to God.
The difficult problem is handled with a fine mix/balance of humor, satire, apoplexy, empathy and commonsense. After seeing it on IFC we bought a copy. Spader is the physician for a comatose man whose two daughters are divided on the issue of maintaining him in a vegetative state or pulling the plug. However, at stake is $10,000,000 (TEN MILLION) which goes to one sister if the plug is pulled and another if it is not. The battle widens when an army of lawyers for the hospital, the doctors, the insurance companies and each sister, weigh-in. The moral/ethical/financial pinpoints are all exposed (the patient has iron clad insurance, which the hospital loves), and thrown in for good measure are a few mystical experiences in which both Kings of the great beyond struggle for a man's soul, and the souls of the two would be multi-millionaires. Those who have a working conscience will love the ending."
Great DVD for covering topic of vegetative euthanasia
Michael Worsham | 01/11/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is a great tragi-comedy with James Spader as it treats the sensitive topic of euthanasia."