Want a Closer Look at Canadian Healthcare? Check Out "Les Invasiones Barbares"

Normally I'm not a big movie buff.

In fact, we don't own a television, a stereo, or any other large, entertainment-oriented electronics. We're pretty geekmo and highly portable when it comes to tech stuff (Blackberrys various Apple music devices abound). When I want to watch a movie, I either pack it up and head to the theater or pack it in and download something from ITunes onto my laptop.

When I took a trip to the Twin Cities this weekend, I lugged my trusty laptop Raphaella (yes, I name my computers - wanna make something of it?). I didn't plan to spend quality time with my dad watching a rental Indie flick, but we were snowed in...plus 2003's The Barbarian Invasions (a Canadian film in French with subtitles) turned out to be a sharp and touching healthcare hit.

It's got wine, drug-seeking behavior, unique *ahem* methods of combating chronic pain related to terminal cancer, end of life care debates, pasta with truffles (mmmm), healing pastoral scenery by a beautiful lakeside cabin, and enough quirky, painfully 'real' interpersonal dialogue for an Oprah's Book Club novel.

But the most interesting part was a satirical (I hope) depiction of a Canadian hospital stay. Never having gone this far north for medical care, I can't verify whether a whiff of it's accurate. On Amazon, a reviewer named Francois Tremblay from Montreal, QC Canada, calls it a "dingy and corrupt (but unfortunately realistic) portrayal of the health care system in Québec." When the father in the picture, played masterfully by Remy Girard, cannot secure a private room or advanced treatments for cancer, he and his son argue about heading down to the good ole' US of A for treatment.

Particularly amusing (depending on your point of view) are depictions of hardworking nurses, fellow patients, unsympathetic hospital administrators, and union reps. There's something for everyone - academics and B-school financial types don't escape the picture's scathing wit.

In case I haven't convinced you to spend 99 minutes of your time checking out the film, written/directed by Denys Arcand, won the Academy Award(R) winner for Best Foreign Language Film in 2003.

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