“I wish there would’ve been another way to do this,” laments Demia Bruce, who has brought his daughter to Highland Hospital emergency room for a case of strep throat. “Nothing’s going right right now.” Bruce’s feelings mirror those of just about everyone around him at this “safety net” ER in Oakland, a last-resort medical facility where director Peter Nicks and his team posted themselves for 24 hours to make The Waiting Room. Their film is part of a larger social-media initiative seeking both to reveal the alarming lack of medical resources for low-income patients, and to provide those patients an avenue to take greater control over their own health care through an interactive multimedia platform. What’s most striking about this enthralling documentary is the unprecedented access Nicks achieves with patients, families and hospital staff—and, even more impressive, the fact that the filmmakers’ presence is seldom felt at all. There’s a pristine quality to the footage, unsullied by any kind of voice-over, on-screen text or infographics. Nicks lets the obvious speak for itself: Whether you’re navigating it as a patient, a doctor, a nurse or a social worker, our health care system is the ultimate clusterfuck.
- Running Time:
- Release Date: Tuesday, May 7, 2013
- Critic's Score: A-
- Watch the trailer