I didn't expect brilliant. The movie was absolutely brilliant. Hilarious, touching, real. Superb storytelling. A fresh perspective on a story so many of us know all too well. So much better than his previous films. I will probably see it again.
I thought it would take the insurance industry to task, and it did, but the facts and examples he used were pretty safe and typical. It could have been far more critical and still stayed well within the realm of real. The people in the movie suffered the kinds of things friends, family, acquaintances have suffered in our system, pretty generalizable stories. Hard stuff but no histrionics. SiCKO was far more restrained than I would have ever expected given Moore's past movies. Moore clearly subverted his mocking instinct in order to get this right.
I was expecting more hard information on health care. The movie did not throw around statistics; this was no Inconvenient Truth. Instead, Moore chose to find stories that resonate with common experiences and frustrations, and juxtaposed them with stories in other places where the outcomes were happier because of readily available health care. He challenges us to imagine how we could do better.
Moore was especially creative in combating old myths. You have to see the movie to appreciate this -- even if you don't like Moore, the movie is worth seeing just for how cleverly he argues his points. When he asks a British politician how the UK ended up with a national health care system, the politician answers: democracy. DEMOCRACY. The politician points out that before the ascension of democracy in the UK (remember the monarchy?), only the privileged got good medical care. Democracy brought health care to everyone. Pow! I didn't see that one coming.
I've never seen a movie like this. A must see.