The Waiting Room

THE WAITING ROOM (Pete Nicks, U.S.). 81 minutes..

THE WAITING ROOM (Pete Nicks, U.S.). 81 minutes. Friday (May 4), 7:15 pm, TIFF Bell Lightbox Saturday (May 5), 6:30 pm, Isabel Bader Sunday (May 6), 9:15 pm, Royal. Rating: NNNN

In the tradition of Frederick Wiseman’s Hospital, Pete Nicks takes a raft of cameras into the ER waiting room of Highland Hospital in Oakland, California, condensing the events of a single day into 81 harrowing minutes.

The Waiting Room offers no narration or commentary on these stories it just watches as Highland’s overtaxed staff deal with a constant stream of patients in distress. The emergency room handles some 250 patients a day, most of them uninsured – meaning that potentially controllable conditions haven’t been addressed until they blow up into life-threatening situations, like a little girl’s raging strep throat.

It’s the rare documentary that mixes moment-to-moment intensity with sober social commentary. The Waiting Room will make an excellent teaching tool for your relatives who keep yammering on about privatizing medicine.

Leave your opinion for the editor...We read everything!

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *