Sunday, November 19, 2017

Wonder (2017)

This is a moving, touching, funny film about a 10 year-old boy with a congenital facial deformity.  Although the name of his disorder is not given in the film, it is most likely Treacher-Collins syndrome.  It could be about Apert syndrome or any child with facial deformities.The story is told with great sensitivity; you'll laugh and tear up alternately.  It that rare movie that will appeal to all ages.

See NY Times Review. See Trailer.

Rook also discussed in NY Times, November 27, 2019.

There is a book by the same title that I have not read yet: Wonder by RJ Palacio.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

The Big Sick (2017)

This is an important movie that deals with diversity, cultural issues, health and health care.  It is the true story of a Pakistani-American stand-up comedian and his writer girlfriend (pictured below) who develops adult Still's disease. (~ 2 hours)

Kumail (Kumail Nanjiani), in the middle of becoming a budding stand-up comedian, meets Emily (Zoe Kazan). Meanwhile, a sudden illness sets in forcing Emily to be put into a medically-induced coma. Kumail must navigate being a comedian, dealing with tragic illness, and placating his family's desire to let them fix him up with a spouse, while contemplating and figuring out who he really is and what he truly believes.p with a spouse, while contemplating and figuring out who he really is and what he truly believes.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

I, Am Daniel Blake

(from The Guardian 12 May 2016) With this movie Ken Loach establishes himself yet further as the John Bunyan of contemporary British cinema. Based on research and interviews by the screenwriter Paul Laverty, this movie tells the fictional story of Daniel Blake, a middle-aged widower in the North East (of England) who can’t work or get benefits after a near-fatal heart attack, and the story is told with stark and fierce plainness: unadorned, unapologetic, even unevolved. Loach’s movie offends against the tacitly accepted rules of sophisticated good taste: subtlety, irony and indirection. The film is not objective, and perhaps Loach and Laverty have signed up to Churchill’s maxim about refusing to be neutral between the fire brigade and the fire

This is a powerfully affecting movie.  Set in the U.K. it is pertinent for audiences in other countries as well.  The movie is sober, infuriating and sad.  Practicing medicine in the U.S., I can resonate with the maddening bureaucracy. Physicians are almost nowhere to be seen here.  It seems like no one was running interference for Daniel Blake.  That may well be the way it usually is.

Monday, June 5, 2017

If You Are Not in rhe Obit...Eat Breakfast (2017)

This looks like a fascinating HBO documentary. Trailer

It was reviewed in the NY Times on June 5th.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Charged (2017)

The Eduardo Garcia Story

Charged, a feature length documentary film, tells the story of Eduardo Garcia who was as shocked with 2400 volts of electricity in a freak incident deep in Montana’s backcountry. Near death, alone and miles from help, Eduardo got up and took his first step towards what would ultimately be years of recovery and rehabilitation.

When Eduardo arrived at Salt Lake City’s Burn Trauma ICU, doctors said he was a dead man with a heartbeat. During the course of his recovery, Eduardo spent 48 days in the ICU. He had nine severe exit wounds and underwent 21 surgeries, which included the removal of four ribs and cutting away destroyed muscle mass from his torso, legs, arms and scalp. Doctors tried to save Eduardo’s left hand, but, when it came down to life or limb, they had to amputate the chef's hand and forearm…

Saturday, June 3, 2017


We saw UnRest at a local film festival yesterday.  It is the story of Jennifer Brea, an intelligent photogenic young woman with CFS/ME  (myalagic encephalomyelitis).  This is the quintessential disorder of "medically unexplained symptoms" (MUS).  It is a view of MUS  through the eyes, mind and lens of a sufferer.

Perhaps, a dangerous aspect of this disorder is the way this can spread via the internet.  Connectivity can be good -- it can also be problematic.  Is CFS/ME a disease, as those afflicted believe?  Is it an illness?  How can these people be helped?  Do they want help?

UnRest left me with many questions.  There is a disconnect between these patients and their physicians.  And a disconnect between the various specialists who are involved in their care.  Mix in cyberspace and the result is chaos.

GM Hopkins wrote: 
O the mind, mind has mountains; cliffs of fall
Frightful, sheer, no-man-fathomed. Hold them cheap
May who ne'er hung there.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Miss Sharon Jones (2016)

This is a brutally candid documentary about the R&B singer, Sharon Jones, who died in November 2016 from pancreatic cancer.  It is an engaging and sad story that hints at the chaos of cancer and its management.  It is unclear to me how much the medical treatment helped her, although the initial Whipple surgery certainly bought her some time.

Official Trailer.

New York Times Obituary.