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Doctored

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Doctored
Jeff Hayes Films
Directed by Bobby Sheehan
Opens September 21, Village East Cinema

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In the kind of ancient newsreel footage the Coen brothers parodied for sequences in The Hudsucker Proxy, AMA executive director Morris Fishbein—who very much resembles the fat, shouting men in expensive suits populating many of the Coens' films—once railed against the legitimacy of chiropractic medicine and its practitioners, asserting that only licensed physicians had the authority to care for patients. Whether or not you believe in the validity of chiropractic care, the roots of the professional prejudice date back to a period when opium was available in pharmacies, black people couldn't eat in restaurants, and children were lobotomized for hyperactivity. At the very least, assumptions that old should probably be revisited. Doctored, a talking-heads-and-stock-footage documentary by Bobby Sheehan, opens with the AMA's conspiracy to push chiropractors out of business—practitioners came to be held with the same weird social regard Scientologists deny experiencing today. Against the backdrop of the crazy-awesome American health care system everyone is completely satisfied with, patients and chiropractors tell stories of successful treatments and diseases managed which pharmaceuticals had failed. Sheehan largely omits the voices of skeptics, resulting in a considerable—but possibly overdue—slant in favor of chiropractors. Doctored frames the nearly century-long campaign against chiropractic care as a marketplace battle in which the stakes are dollars rather than health. It's certainly hard to discount in an era when women still need a prescription for a drug with a 55-year history of safety and effectiveness, just to ensure their regular assumption of the lithotomy position at the ob-gyn.

 
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