Medicine in the Movies
The Death of Mr. Lazarescu, set in Romania, is a sad yet funny film that tells the story of an old man whom no one really knows or cares about. When he falls ill and needs medical treatment, he faces a team of busy doctors who are concerned because they have to be, not because they really care. We see how suffocatingly slow time must seem for Lazarescu (Ion Fiscuteanu), who isn't expecting the best treatment--just any treatment would be nice. With the exception of a conscientious paramedic, there doesn't seem to be much concern whether he lives or dies.
While noble and entertaining, series like ER & Chicago Hope offer less realism than The Death of Mr. Lazarescu, in which lack of funds and staff don't allow time for a suitable bedside manner. No one is vilified, not even some of the hospital staff that are disgusted by the side effects of their patients' illnesses. The story is told in a humane and mesmerizing manner that yanks at the heartstrings while still eliciting a laugh or two. --Jae-Ha Kim, Amazon review