Metascore
77

Generally favorable reviews - based on 15 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 14 out of 15
  2. Negative: 0 out of 15
  1. Reviewed by: Mark Olsen
    Jun 26, 2014
    90
    McGarry has created something that feels personal, vital and revelatory, allowing the rest of us behind the curtain.
  2. Reviewed by: Sheri Linden
    Jun 19, 2014
    90
    What sets Code Black apart is that the filmmaker is himself a physician. His extraordinary access to life-and-death moments and his illuminating perspective on the medical system make for a powerful viewing experience.
  3. Reviewed by: Jeannette Catsoulis
    Jun 19, 2014
    90
    Slicing through the fat of policy debates to the visceral rush of critical care, the narrative combines existential worries... and blood-and-guts immediacy with a seamlessness that made me want to high-five the editor, Joshua Altman.
  4. Reviewed by: Steven Rea
    Aug 1, 2014
    88
    Code Black is sobering stuff. The American health system, McGarry's film argues, is broken. But the film is undeniably inspiring, too: Despite everything that is wrong, there are nurses and doctors and technicians determined to do things right.
  5. Reviewed by: Michael O'Sullivan
    Jul 11, 2014
    88
    Code Black is a powerful and quietly damning film. While training his lens narrowly on the heroic workers in a single emergency department, McGarry has made a broad indictment of a system that is badly in need of surgery.
  6. Reviewed by: Katie Walsh
    May 30, 2014
    83
    Code Black manages to encapsulate so much of what is wrong with our health care system, but also to point out what’s right, and to posit an attitude shift not just about health care but about how we as a society treat those around us who are in pain or suffering. A heartbreaking but hopeful message within this important film.
  7. Reviewed by: Chris Klimek
    Jun 18, 2014
    80
    Code Black doesn’t suggest ways to improve health care in America, but it at least documents one of the most noble and necessary professions with insight and humility.
  8. Reviewed by: Ernest Hardy
    Jun 17, 2014
    80
    What will pull viewers in is the empathy of the healthcare workers who battle to retain their idealism in the face of staggering obstacles.
  9. Reviewed by: Peter Keough
    Jul 31, 2014
    75
    Code Black shows the passion, frustration, and skill of those who work to heal despite the system, but it remains in the dark about why that system is broken and how it can be fixed.
  10. 75
    McGarry, with this slick, invigorating film, whose action is set to a pulsating James Lavino musical score, has broadened a national debate that anti-healthcare reform folks have narrowed via the courts and political demonization.
  11. Reviewed by: Justin Chang
    Jun 19, 2014
    70
    At 81 minutes, Code Black feels like a brisk, vital report from the frontlines of emergency medicine, forged and rooted in the most intense sort of personal and professional experience.
  12. Reviewed by: Marjorie Baumgarten
    Jul 30, 2014
    67
    For the most part, Code Black is a riveting document despite its tendency to jackrabbit around in its themes and personalities.
  13. Reviewed by: Mike D'Angelo
    Jun 18, 2014
    67
    Far too much time is spent on McGarry and his colleagues talking to the camera about how little they’re motivated by money or status and how much they just want to help people. That’s laudable, but it’s not compelling.
  14. Reviewed by: Matt Zoller Seitz
    Jun 26, 2014
    63
    The movie is at its best when it's immersing you in a series of conundrums and letting you feel what it's like to live with them, and wrestle with them. All of these people are doing the best they can, but the system is broken.
  15. Reviewed by: Joshua Rothkopf
    Jun 17, 2014
    60
    Resident turned filmmaker Ryan McGarry sometimes displays shrewd instincts for hardheaded vérité — there’s compelling stuff here, even if you shear away his occasional stabs at issues of bureaucratic overcrowding and corporate cost-cutting at the expense of intimacy.
User Score
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No user score yet- Awaiting 3 more ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 0 out of 1
  2. Negative: 0 out of 1
  1. Jul 7, 2014
    5
    I completely disagree with most of the critics that believe that this documentary is compelling or remotely deep in any sense. I felt that the director dedicated 90 minutes to create a "yearbook" of his residence and his friends. The film was the cinematographic equivalent to the physician's facebook newsfeed. There was little critical social commentary, and when there was, it sounded old, repetitive, empty. Too much idealization of the ER physician. I would like to see a follow up in 5 years and see how many of these altruist doctors are actually doing any altruistic work. Full Review »