The Doctor, based on the book by Ed Rosenbaum
The Doctor makes a few interesting points.
However, this is not a breathtaking work.
In spite of the fact that the once effervescent, spectacular, ebullient, great William Hurt has the leading role.
The celebrated, Oscar nominated Peter Bogdanovich mentions in his classic book Who the Hell’s in It? The opinion of Orson Welles:
The performances of the actors are what is important in a film
That makes or breaks the picture
This may be so.
Nevertheless, the Doctor may contradict this idea, even if William Hurt, wonderful as he is, has not had his best work in The Doctor.
The point this film makes comes from another masterpiece, one that explains Hollywood and filmmaking:
Adventures in the Screen Trade by the winner of two Academy Awards for screenplay, William Goldman
There has been a trend, maybe a fashion to look at some directors and declare that they are paramount for their creations.
Indeed, they are.
However, to release and insist on the notion that the author films are all about their directors is definitely wrong.
This is what William Goldman explains with mastery and incredible inside knowledge of this Screen Trade.
He gives the example of the feted Alfred Hitchcock, who was so much admired and declared the ultimate author of films.
Once this status had been established however, the quality of the motion pictures helmed by the genius has gradually decreased.
A film needs an excellent director.
Nevertheless, the crew of actors, producers, screenwriters and others matter, with examples from Jaws to Chariots of Fire:
In Jaws, the special effects played a crucial role, which had been rarely the case until then, although today they are paramount.
For Chariots of Fire, the Academy Awards winning soundtrack, composed by the wondrous Vangelis was also fundamental.
In The Doctor, some of these ingredients are missing.
Alternatively, someone somewhere was not so inspired.
The end result feels artificial and forced.
Even if the story is not only credible, but also familiar.
The protagonist is a doctor with great skills, but an obnoxious manner that he wants to instill in his students.
He is sure that the only way to treat patients is by keeping the distance and feeling no empathy for them.
All this becomes anathema once he is diagnosed with cancer and he has to face indifferent medical personnel, humiliating rules and all the suffering that is part of everyday life of patients.
There are two opposite views to mention here, one would argue that the Doctor is actually right in keeping the distance- and not just from a #metoo perspective- but if a surgeon and other medical workers are imbued with all the pain of their patients they will only survive for a few weeks at best.
On the other hand, studies have been made in hospitals, the results show that janitors, who have a calling for their position, engage with patients, and co-workers are happier than cold doctors who see their profession only as a means to get a paycheck or just a career opportunity.
Perhaps as always, the path to take is that offered by Aristotle with his…
Golden Mean…you do not need to suffer all the pain of those in your care or around you, but you also need compassion