The Hospital Reviews
But really so bad.
But also. So good.
George C. Scott is certainly engaging as the lead in The Hospital. The problem is that he is a bit too brazen and over-the-top to be sympathetic. I never really got on his side in this movie, so I wasn't invested in what happened to him. Diana Rigg, on the other hand, could be reading out of a phone book and I would be entranced. She has such a charm to her, that every line seems to have depth and meaning. I find myself wanting to slap Dr. Bock for even contemplating the option of not going with her. There are several other good character actors in this film, but most of them get small parts that only pop up for a few scenes. There are moments where I started to think The Hospital was going to be a great film. Some of the speeches were quite interesting and filled with undeniable truth. If they had made a movie to back up the words it would have been impacting and maybe forced me to contemplate the flaws in medical practices. Of course, the other problem is that, within the last 40 years a lot of things have changed in the way that medical facilities deal with these issues. That's not to say that there aren't still problems, but they are different from the problems that we see in The Hospital. So that also makes the satire a bit dated. As a result there was very little I enjoyed about this film. It certainly tried hard to win me over, but I would not recommend others seek it out.
Part black comedy, which is drawn from the absurdity of reality, and part serious drama, The Hospital is one of the best films about the medical profession that I have ever seen. Incredible in its verisimilitude, Paddy Chayefsky's screenplay is smart, incisive, and passionately written. George C. Scott's performance is one of the best of his career, and his "freedom for the impotents" monologue is an enviable, engaging piece of acting.
At its core, The Hospital is about how even the most human of moments fails to satisfy a deep urge to connect with our own humanity. It's about the disappointments of life, how they wear on us, turning us into unrecognizable automatons. The characters reach for meaning, and disappointed, they reach again, harder and more desperate.
Overall, I love this film, and not only should it be required viewing in every medical school, its themes transcend a particular profession or historical moment.