The Waiting Room


Universal acclaim - based on 12 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 11 out of 12
  2. Negative: 0 out of 12

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Critic Reviews

  1. Reviewed by: Ann Hornaday
    Nov 30, 2012
    With grace, discretion and supreme tact, Nicks sweeps viewers to a climactic montage that wordlessly honors the best ways we care for one another. The Waiting Room bears poetic witness to an overlooked fact: America's health care system may be broken, but its people are anything but.
  2. Reviewed by: Mick LaSalle
    Oct 18, 2012
    This is human drama at its most intense and universal. This is the rare film that can change the way you think and see the world.
  3. Reviewed by: Stephen Holden
    Sep 25, 2012
    Scrupulously apolitical, The Waiting Room is the opposite of a polemic like Michael Moore's "Sicko." But by removing any editorial screen, it confronts you head-on with human suffering that a more humane and equitable system might help alleviate.
  4. Reviewed by: Nathan Rabin
    Sep 26, 2012
    Director Peter Nicks puts faces, names, and heartbreakingly relatable stories to a social problem that can all too often feel abstract and academic.
  5. Reviewed by: Wesley Morris
    Nov 29, 2012
    The movie observes the general misery of needing serious medical treatment and the particular awfulness of needing medical treatment you can't pay for.
  6. Reviewed by: John DeFore
    Sep 30, 2012
    Inherently unpreachy but making its point more effectively than many participants in the debate can, the film should find vocal advocates in a niche theatrical run.
  7. Reviewed by: Andrew O'Hehir
    Sep 28, 2012
    The Waiting Room is a source of both inspiration and hope. The system may be broken, but the people are not.
  8. 80
    There's more to it than a black-and-white political conclusion, and the laundry list of California documentary heroes in the credits suggests this film is humanist before it's agenda driven.
  9. Reviewed by: Elise Nakhnikian
    Sep 26, 2012
    Documents emotionally charged interactions between patients and hospital staff without any signs that the subjects are being made to feel self-conscious or that they're behavior is being affected.
  10. Reviewed by: Robert Abele
    Sep 27, 2012
    Wherever you stand on healthcare and the fact that uninsured people nationwide use emergency rooms for basic services, the documentary The Waiting Room is a revealing portrait of the often tough transactions between patients and hospital staff at the urgency level.
  11. Reviewed by: Jonathan Kiefer
    Sep 25, 2012
    What makes The Waiting Room worth visiting is how well it does without the usual narcotizing documentary tactics.

Awards & Rankings

User Score

No user score yet- Awaiting 1 more rating

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 1
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 1
  3. Negative: 0 out of 1
  1. Mar 3, 2013
    Just when I finished reading the 30+ page TIME article about our broken medical system, I go see this movie. It's a very verite look at aJust when I finished reading the 30+ page TIME article about our broken medical system, I go see this movie. It's a very verite look at a public hospital's ER department. People spend hours, even days, waiting for medical help (more like a free clinic that an ER). Most of them don't have insurance and many don't have jobs. Meanwhile, the staff patiently and empathetically tries to deal with the backlog. While only 2 stories are followed in detail, there are glimpses of many more…and this is one of the film's flaws. It shows a mass of problems without solutions, preaching or emotional investment. It effectively spotlights the issue, but doesn't make for especially moving cinema. Full Review »