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"Damaged Care" is an often-poignant, always compelling look at the true story of HMO whistle-blower Dr. Linda Peeno.
Laura Dern's portrayal of a somewhat naive and vulnerable Linda Peeno is outstanding, with excellent supporting work from a solid cast. (One odd bit of miscasting is James LeGros as her husband, Doug. Inches shorter -- and looking ten years younger -- LeGros' character seems no match for Laura Dern's Linda. It might have worked better for LeGros and to switch roles with Adam Arkin, who did a fine, if thankless, turn as a health-claims lawyer.) Michelle Clunie gave a good performance in the interesting minor role of Linda's antagonistic secretary, Gemma, along with Suki Kaiser's underplayed (how could it be otherwise?) Dawn Dubose.
The lovely, haunting musical score and poetic narration cleanly underline and enhance this well-written, well-acted drama. Beyond that, the clear and present dangers of HMO practices that "Damaged Care" warns about are all too real. That alone would make this a must-see movie of 2002, though it offers much more.
Look for this one in the Emmy nominations.
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