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The Waiting Room (2012)

tomatometer

100

Average Rating: 8.4/10
Critic Reviews: 18
Fresh: 18 | Rotten: 0

No consensus yet.

audience

76

liked it
Average Rating: 3.8/5
User Ratings: 1,742

My Rating

Movie Info

The Waiting Room is a character-driven documentary film that uses extraordinary access to go behind the doors of an American public hospital struggling to care for a community of largely uninsured patients. The film - using a blend of cinema verité and characters' voiceover offers a raw, intimate, and even uplifting look at how patients, staff and caregivers each cope with disease, bureaucracy and hard choices.

Oct 21, 2013

$0.2M

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All Critics (32) | Top Critics (18) | Fresh (32) | Rotten (0)

It's a vivid portrait of the crisis in health care policy, with the caregivers and clinic itself as much on life support as the sick people.

March 21, 2013 Full Review Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A moving portrait of people doing their jobs under very difficult circumstances - and, in virtually every moment we see, doing them with efficiency, wisdom and compassion.

March 21, 2013 Full Review Source: Seattle Times
Seattle Times
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Nicks nets moments that are at turns horrific and touching, redemptive of those seeking treatment and the workers who provide it where no one else will.

March 14, 2013 Full Review Source: Philadelphia Inquirer
Philadelphia Inquirer
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The level of frankness and vulnerability of those featured suggests just how compassionate a filmmaker Nicks (who acted as his own cinematographer) must be.

January 18, 2013 Full Review Source: Denver Post
Denver Post
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Both a depressing indictment of a system that prioritizes health care based on insurance coverage and, at the same time, uplifting, if only because of the extraordinary professionals who keep it going - barely.

January 17, 2013 Full Review Source: Toronto Star
Toronto Star
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Eloquently portrays the faults and limitations of the American health care system, even as it punctures some of the most toxic stereotypes surrounding it.

November 30, 2012 Full Review Source: Washington Post
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

If you want to understand how the American system of health care delivery works for people without employer-sponsored health insurance, I can think of no better introduction than watching Peter Nicks' documentary The Waiting Room.

March 21, 2013 Full Review Source: PopMatters
PopMatters

A dramatic and inspiring look at a piece of the U.S. health care problem.

March 21, 2013 Full Review Source: St. Paul Pioneer Press
St. Paul Pioneer Press

Grim but enlightening, perhaps required viewing for those who care to debate themselves blue about a crisis they'll never fully understand.

March 20, 2013 Full Review Source: Blu-ray.com
Blu-ray.com

One of 2012's better documentaries... the gut-punch effectiveness of Peter Nicks' film lies in its forthrightness, and how it avoids speechifying.

February 7, 2013 Full Review Source: Shared Darkness
Shared Darkness

The galvanizing chronicle of a 24-hour period at the emergency room of a public hospital in Oakland, California.

December 16, 2012 Full Review Source: About.com
About.com

If people believe Mitt Romney's assertion that emergency rooms are a solution for the uninsured, this is a powerful rebuke.

November 29, 2012 Full Review Source: Boston Phoenix
Boston Phoenix

Documentary filmmaker [Peter] Nicks provides us with an eye opening work about the life in a day of an ER that makes any reality TV pale in comparison.

November 24, 2012 Full Review Source: Reeling Reviews
Reeling Reviews

recalls Frederick Wiseman with voice overs...an engrossing, eye opening look at the mess American healthcare is in, the heroics involved in propping it up and the endurance necessary these days to be sick without insurance.

November 20, 2012 Full Review Source: Reeling Reviews
Reeling Reviews

For hard-edged documentary snap with the all-important local angle, it would be hard to beat this film.

November 13, 2012 Full Review Source: East Bay Express
East Bay Express

Audience Reviews for The Waiting Room

This is a very good piece of evidence, as to why the health care system in this country has to be reformed. People without insurance can only be seen in the emergency room, and looking at urban areas, that means hundreds of people waiting hours, days, even weeks for medical care. In one instance of the film, a man with a bullet wound is left to sit for an entire day, going numb throughout his body. A young girl is rushed through, an older man tries to get help when there's no one able to, and a homeless man takes attention away from less endemic cases as he's rushed through the ER. It's a very stressful environment that's portrayed, and the implications of not having insurance are strongly shown. The people in the documentary are also quite interesting, and at times it feels more like a film than a realistic portrayal of a hospital. There's the sassy nurse, the hopeful and yet defeated doctor, the strange people coming through the ER, trying to get treatment. Not only does this film educate, but entertain, and that's difficult with such a small space and time to work with.
February 17, 2014
FrizzDrop

Super Reviewer

"The Waiting Room" is an incisive look at the sorrowful state of the modern healthcare system in the United States, as seen through the microcosm of a 24-hour period of the emergency room in Highland Hospital in Oakland, California. Through the eyes of patients, nurses, doctors and social workers, we see how the system functions and does not work, and in response how the staff members seek to work the system to the best of their patients' advantage and health. As one doctor explains, the emergency room is usually the only chance for these uninsured people to see a doctor which is why these cases are not usually those we have been conditioned to associate with an emergency but are still important nonetheless. Otherwise, the patients would be left to their own devices and the internet. My only criticism here is we never get a clear specific sense as to how long these people have to wait to see a doctor.
December 31, 2012
Harlequin68
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

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