In the middle ages, disease, its cause and its cure were all a mystery. For most forms of illness, the only treatment was prayer. One disease called side sickness was universally recognized as a death sentence, a very painful one at that. Side sickness, what we now call appendicitis, was incurable then and is the motivation for the German movie, The Physician (2013), available now on Netflix. A period drama set in the 11th century, it tells the story of a Christian boy, Rob Cole (Tom Payne), who first witnesses his mother’s death from side sickness. Orphaned, he latches onto a traveling barber, what passes for a doctor then in Europe. He hopes to find a cure for the side sickness that killed his mother. The elderly barber eventually succumbs to another illness, but Rob is able to save his life by entreating the assistance of visiting Jewish physicians. From them he also learns the source of their advanced medical training, Persia. Masquerading as a Jew, Cole travels to the Middle East during the Crusades, where he meets Ibn Sina (Ben Kingsley) the teacher of physicians. Before it decays into a sand-and-sandals melodrama, this movie is most notable in its relatively evenhanded treatment of Muslims, a rarity these days in Western cinema.