John Q. (Infinifilm Edition)

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Product Description

Academy Award winner Denzel Washington stars in this powerful drama about a father who takes extreme measures to save his son's life when his insurance company refuses to cover his heart transplant surgery.

DVD Features:
Audio Commentary
DVD ROM Features
DVD ROM exclusive web site
Deleted Scenes
Theatrical Trailer

It's impossible to walk away from John Q. without thinking about the film that could have been. The pathetic state of health care in the U.S. and the desperate behavior it engenders is not only worthy but edgy material; no doubt director Nick Cassavetes (She's So Lovely) and Denzel Washington (as well as Robert Duvall, Ray Liotta, James Woods, and Anne Heche) were drawn to the provocative pitch. The only snag is that John Q. has about as much edge as an after-school special. Washington plays John Quincy Archibald, a hard-working factory worker whose house stands to be repossessed and whose lovely wife (Kimberly Elise) is at her wits' end. When his extremely cute son collapses while rounding the bases in a Little League game, things go from bad to worse. John Q. takes a downtown Chicago emergency room hostage when he learns that the heart transplant his son needs won't be performed because his health care doesn't cover it. The action-drama that ensues--replete with one-liners, stilted debate, inept snipers, and multiple references to O.J. Simpson's white Bronco--is so littered with clich¨¦s that the issues, timely ones, get lost in a crescendo of melodrama. --Fionn Meade

Customer Reviews:

  • John Q
    This movie is good and it is bad too - the good thing about it is it made it crystal clear to me why should I have had to tick the donor's gap in my Driver's Licence form,then another good thing is how beautifully insurance companies are described in here by giving you nightmares when you most need their help which is such a crime. Because when they get you to sign forms
    they treat you like a king and when it comes to make the claims
    they treat you like a criminal regardless the proofs you offer.

    And the bad one was : to keep hostages inside a hospital wasn't such a good thing to show - I'm sure that in a democratic U.S.A there are heaps more options before deciding on that one.

    Anyways, John Q is a factory worker. He has a cloud above his life that rains unhappiness after unhappiness.He's facing financial problems as the work hours have been reduced for him.
    His car get's repossessed. Can't get any worst than this he thought just until he realised that it can get worster than all of his misfortunes put together.His pride, his son falls down on earth one day as he's playing baseball and what John Q and his wife hear from doctors is impossible. Michael is very sick and he would need an emergency heart transplant but that would cost them a lot of money should they decide to save their sons precious life. The problem was where to get the money...and since there was no way to get the money...the other problem was what to do?

    Very sad makes you think....more info

  • H.M.O. stands for Heartwrenching Movie Overload.
    Denzel Washington is John Quincy Archibald, a blue collar worker father who is struggling with payments, as every human being is troubled with. But, when his son becomes a victum of a heart condition which needs imediate replacement. The only trouble is that the procedure is expensive.

    I really loved the dialogue and the premise. Very original, strikingly earnest and different. This was directed by the same man, nick cassevetties, that directed THE NOTEBOOK. And believe me, from start to finish he does well in pumping up the suspense as well as making you wonder what will happen next. I think it would be hard for someone not to cry while watching this movie. It really deals with real life medical procedures and even heart-breaking choices. Becuase, after all, if you give a father no choice, sooner or later he'll have to take the rules into his own hands. This movie really inspired me in a big way. It made me want to learn more about the technicalities of the medical field.

    As for the action, there are some powerful moments involving John making descisions for the E.R. and negotiating his demands while holding a cast of personally different background hostages.

    Each movie with Denzel is a smash hit. It's really that simple. He's just a really good, believable actor.
    Enjoy!...more info
  • Most of the poor reviews are probably rich people
    Sure, 85% of people in America can afford health care to take care of most of the issues llike that. Well, this movie was about the 15% that can't. This movie was about my mother, whose mother's health care was not enough to cover her intense lung surgery. My mother who had to let her mother pass away in a hospital bed when they told us too late that we can work out a financial plan. this movie is about my Xgirfriend who. Had to use the money she had been responsibly saving to go to Yale Law School, because she had to pay nine and ten thousand dollar hospital bills time after time. This movie was about that 15% that it actually does happen to. How about you check the DVD additional feature documentaries and tell me how fake this movie was. John Q, my top five all-time greatest movies. It is something that all us "commonfolk". Middle class people can relate to. thank you...more info
  • Denzel Rules
    Denzel Washington's powerful performance dominates this drama about a father fighting to keep his son alive. Many critics panned "John Q" upon its release, and to some extent, I agree with them. There are so many cliches in it that it often seems like a knock-off of other movies like "Dog Day Afternoon" and "Mad City." Robert Duvall, while a great actor, comes off like a characature of a cop, while Ray Liotta, also a terrific performer, is equally cartoonish as his adversary. Naturally, the news reporters turn the whole hostage situation into a media circus with a preachy message about the sorry state of our healthcare system. We've seen all this before in many other movies, and it didn't work in them either. The plot also takes predictable turns all the way to the end.

    The main reason to watch is for Denzel Washington. His likability goes a long way; he really does make you care about him and his family. Because of him, I can still enjoy watching this film and forgive many of its shortcomings. And the DVD is loaded with many nice features, including deleted scenes and commentary with director Nick Cassavetes, writer James Kearns, and actress Kimberly Elise, who plays Washington's wife in the movie....more info
  • A Masterpiece of Moving Emotions That Touch Your Soul
    John Q is a masterpiece about a father who's son goes into heart failure. Left broke and no options left he can't afford the expense for the donor's list he snaps. Left with no options he goes onto the edge. Risking his life in jail or death he continously goes through his plan.A captivating story about one father's determination to keep his son alive As his son's life hangs in the balance. An emotional story you will want to experince again and again!Denzel Washington was truely destined to play this role. Therefor John Q is the best movie i've seen in years....more info
  • It is what it is. Unrealistic and a tearjerker
    It is offensive that Hollywood would make this movie and not donate the profits to people like John Q. Imagine the medical care Denzel Washington's salary alone would pay for? Probably at least one kidney transplant.
    There should be a purpose to a movie like John Q., and there just wasn't one in this film. The plot was very unrealistic with the free care, welfare, and other hospital-assisted funding programs out there. We should thank heaven above we are living in the United States of America where we still have some of the very best healthcare services available to everyone.
    I thought this movie made hospitals the bad guy just to make John Q. more sympathetic. I gave the movie two stars vs. one star because of Denzel's performance....more info
  • Daddy Said, "Without You, There Is No World."
    "John Q" is surely too melodramatic even though it treats one of the most important social issues, namely, current medical insurance system in USA. The characters, save for the main one, need lots of polishing, and the over-the-top finale is too good to be true. But the film is still a great audience pleaser -- if you are a kind of audience who can ignore the holes in the plot -- and it is certain that Denzel Washington acquired new fans after the release of the film.

    John Quincey Archibols is a family man, working at a local factory where his hours are cut, and whose car is repossessed. Still, he is a loving father, whose son Michael, however, collapses during the baseball game, and is brought to hospital. John Q is told by the hospital executives James Woods and Anne Heche that he has to prepare $ 250,000 to have an operation for heart transplanting for his son. Without that, Michael is certain to die within months. But the insurance, for the reasons you should see for yourself on screen, does not give any more than $ 20,000 ceiling. The time limit for payment gets closer, and the hospital even suggests that his son leave the place when John and his friends are desperately collecting the money, which is far short of the amount they need.

    Told over phone by his wife "to do something," John takes a literal course to do something -- to take over the hospital with a gun, taking hostages and requiring that his son's name should be put on the top of the waiting list.

    You might find the story ethically dubious (and I did, too) but soon find that Washington's performance as distraught father compels you to (almost) forget that point. The story is oversimplified and melodramatic, but it successfully conveys the father's feelings towards his son, and as such it manages to engage us. The good pace of the film also makes you forgive the fact that the script is too contrived (though I don't say impossible), and that there are some stock characters such as veteran hostage negotiator and power-hungry police representive, played by Rovert Duvall and Ray Liotta respectively.

    The original script was written in 1993 when "Die Hard" style action flicks are in vogue, and the finished script of "John Q" clearly shows that fact. There are satire about media circus, conversations over radio, etc., but director Nick Cassavetes keeps good pace with stirring direction and some occassional references to modern US insurance systems. Though the film seems to touch these social issues too casually, it is still worthwhile to know these things, some of which are simply surprising for, like me, those who are not living in America.

    You may think that Nick Cassavetes, now both as actor ("Face/Off") and as director ("Unhook the Stars" which incidentally features his mother Gena "Gloria Rowlands") is not the right choice for the film. The fact is, however, he did a good job, helped greatly by Washington's towering presence. But you cannot and hsould not seek for profound insights or messages here. It is nothing but a crowd pleaser -- and a good one at that, but we know the subject matter needs more subtle handling....more info

  • Very sad and very powerful
    A son who has a hearfailur that needs a doner for a heart transplant. A father in tears and will stop
    at nothing to get his son a heart transplan. Jon Q is a truly a power full film. I cant say its the best movie ever made but its a great and yet sad film. The drama and emotions that get you in this movie will deeply get you into some what ways of sadness. This movie was a great role for denzel.
    The movie look more like an R rating than pg 13. Than again they probably edited out some parts to get it a PG-13 intentiannaly. This is a great film to watch but not for those who get sad emotions easily....more info
  • What would you do?
    John Q is well acted by Denzel Washington. Amidst the drama and comedy of this film is a disturbing question. What do you do when you're faced with a catastrophic illness and have no medical coverage? It's a question that many in this country face everyday. Washington as Q is pushed to the breaking point and makes some decisions that bring dire consequences upon himself. His son has a bad heart and needs a transplant. He loses his job and sells almost everything he owns to pay for his son's hospitalization. While the film does demonize the hospital staff and the police department by putting them in the role of the bad guy, there are some truths that must be faced. Who should pay when you can't? Should doctors donate their time to every hard luck case?

    I'm glad there is some comedy relief in this film. It keeps things from getting too intense. This film a worth having in your library.

    Parental advisory: There is no nudity or sex. There is some violence and coarse language. I suggest a viewing age of 13 and over....more info
  • Awesome movie
    The first time I was this movie was in my health class. It is such a good movie. The story that is told in the movie is realistic and the actors played well. I even cried a couple of times during the movie. It's very touching.
    ...more info
  • A father risks all when put in a place he shouldn't be
    Denzel Washington (our title charactor John Q.) and Kimberly Elise play loving parents to Michael Archibald, a young boy who collapses while playing baseball due to heart failure. Upon being rushed to the hospital for an emergency heart transplant the Archibald's are told that their health insurance does not cover the surgery, and John, already working dead end jobs as a factury worker, can't afford the surgery (their house is about to be repoed as well so he's really down on his luck right now) and so his situation seems hopeless until he takes matters into his own hands and takes the emergency room of the hospital hostage. Now he's able to make demands of the hospital and the insurance company, demanding they operate on his son. The end of the film gets very intence, to the point where you're at the edge of your seat and praying something will happen quickly to make things better. Denzel does an amazing job here, and James Wood and Anne Heche do an outstanding job at making you really really hate them. Eddie Griffin does what he does best by making you laugh quite a bit and Ray Liotta plays against playing a jack@$$. Anyways, the real heart of this film is not in the 'father will do anything to save his son' route but more in the 'I can't believe that the medical and insurance world is that currupt' and the sobering part is that they are that currupt. This movie should help to open your eyes to the type of men and women (heartless men and women) who have high office in the places we place our trust. Medical attention, to me, should be a non-question type item. If you have a patient who WILL DIE if not given immediate attention, yet his insurance won't cover the surgery...what would you do? The fact that the question needs to be asked shows how little this society of people gives two $hits about one another. It should be a no-brainer. You should perform the surgery. Money is not the issue, life is the issue. It's sad to know that some, maybe even most, people don't see it that way. John Q. did what he had to do, but the point is that he should have never had to....more info
  • John Q
    I really enjoyed the movie but I feel the medical scenes should have been made to be more realistic. But the spurts of comedy were good. It all flowed together well in the manner in which it was presented. Here you have a guy down on his luck just wanting his child to survive so he takes an emergency room as hostage and threatens to kill everyone in the room, but he has only one bullet, and it is not even in the gun. Most of the people in the emergency room once they understood John Q (Denzel Washington) began to like him. They found him to be a good, caring, hard working guy who was cornered by circumstances beyond his control. All John Q wanted was to save his son by getting him a heart. Denzel Washington did an excellent job of making everyone feel his pain in the show as well as in the audience. I'm not sure if it was really meant to show the medical care problems in the United States but it does. Which is a good thing....more info
  • One of Denzel's finest performances
    I remember when this movie came out there was a lot of criticism towards it. I can honestly say that the only good things I heard about about it was these positive reviews on Amazon. I was determined to see it and I was finally able to see it. Guess what? It isnt as bad as these critics say it is.

    Premise: John Q Archibald's son passes out during a baseball game. Once tooken to the hospital John and his wife find out that their son has an enlarged heart. John goes through great leangths to get money just to get his son's name on the heart donor's list only to get screwed over by the same hospital that was supposed to look out for him. Down on his last luck, John Q holds the whole hospital hostage at gunpoint until his son's medical needs are met.

    Opinion: This movie is very touching as well as a sad testament to the issue involving healthcare. Many people bash the movie because they figure that the way John Q handled his son's situation was extreme but if you were in his shoes and handled that situation with passiveness then you deserve to get bullied by these corporate warthogs for being docile! Everybody with the exception of the ham that beats his girl fits into this movie perfectly. Eddie Griffin provided brief moments of levity, James Woods was great as the doctor who had to be forced into comprimising and John Q is one of Denzel's finest performances. The movie has a happy as well as a sad ending but I wont spoil it for those of you who have yet to see it. They say that the message of the movie was hammered onto the audience but in a world full of proud-to-be-stupid people, the only way to get a message so serious across is to beat it into their thick heads. I'll part by saying that not every movie that is critically panned is bad and not every critically acclaimed movie is good. See it for yourself....more info
  • Begs us: Make our broken system worse
    The acting in this film is excellent, there is no question about that.

    John Q. Archibald (Denzel Washington) is a factory worker whose hours have been cut back. His family is always struggling and his car has been repossessed for lack of payment. He always promises his wife (Kimberly Elise) he will take care of things. That never seems to happen.

    But then their son Mike (Daniel E. Smith) drops, unconscious, after hitting a home run at a baseball game. At Hope Memorial Hospital, heart specialist Dr. Raymond Turner (James Wood) informs the shocked parents that their son needs a heart transplant, and their health insurance has denied the procedure. They should make him as comfortable as possible and prepare for the worst, he says. Mike is going to die.

    John does not believe this is possible. He goes to his company benefits department, which then tells him that indeed, the HMO will not cover the surgery.

    And here's the factual rub. It is illegal to change a family's health insurance plan without informing them of the changes that have been implemented. But in this plot line, John Q.'s insurance has been changed from full coverage to $22,000 in total (or thereabouts), since he is no longer working full hours. However, John Archibald was never notified. Families are required to be offered full coverage under COBRA provisions, and cannot be automatically changed from full health coverage to virtually none without having been fully informed.

    So while it makes for great drama, this film is based on a false premise. There is no way that John Q. Archibald could have lost full health coverage without knowing it.

    From this point, the grieving Dad takes his story to a seemingly sympathetic pressman, who in fact is only interested in a scoop that will make his career---not ticking off his editors with another sob story about a bad situation that no one can easily address.

    So John and his wife sell everything they have that isn't nailed down, and raise $6,000 to pay their son's uncovered hospital bills. By now he has been ill for longer than their meager policy will cover---even without the surgery. But the funds are inadequate and the cruel hospital administrator plans on releasing their son Mike. The surgery has not been approved, his insurance is used up, and he's going to die.

    John's wife tells him to "Do Something." This time, John breaks his usual do-nothing pattern and more than succeeds---via criminal actions, albeit actions with which any loving parent can empathize.

    John goes to the Hope hospital emergency room with a concealed handgun. He takes hostage all the emergency room patients---a drunk driver and his injured girlfriend, a pregnant woman, a mother and her child, doctors, nurses and other staff on duty. After several hours of accomplishing nothing, John informs the police and hospital administrators that he will begin killing the hostages if his son is not placed on the transplant list immediately.

    Now, that insensitive pressman, who did nothing before, is hot on the hottest story of the year. He runs a live feed into the emergency room and broadcasts a telephone conversation in which the hospital administrator informs John Archibald that Mike is going on the transplant list, after all. She's faking. The Police Chief (Liotta) asked her to go along just to save lives. But they are now trapped in their own lie, which the public has seen. Their gooses are cooked.

    What happens next is all as inconceivable as the initial premise---that John's family health insurance plan was canceled without his knowledge or consent, before he was offered an opportunity to extend full coverage by paying himself.

    It all makes for good drama, a tearjerker, and superb acting. John Archibald becomes an unlikely hero, as he demands that all the other patients are treated for free, and chief police negotiator Frank Grimes (Robert Duvall) thwarts the Police Chief's election year ploy to make headlines by sending in a sniper.

    Unfortunately, the story line is completely implausible, and dangerously misleading. I'm therefore giving this movie only three stars.

    In effect it's propaganda supporting national health insurance. However, the national health plans elsewhere---in Great Britain and Canada, among other places---leave more people waiting to die than in the U.S. They're denied treatment or benefits for lack of funds, facilities or physicians. Even socialized medicine still needs to allocate resources. Neither emotion nor family love have anything to do with how those resources get allocated. The most likely to benefit are treated. Expensive and unproven procedures are not used. And tens of thousands of people have died---waiting.

    Sure, U.S. health care is broken. Insurance is too costly and hard to come by. However, foreign experience has already proven that nationalized health care would only make the broken U.S. health care system worse....more info
  • Horrible
    I was utterly surprised at the reactions of the audience when I went to see this in the theater. I could not believe that I appeared to be the only person who was totally apalled to the plot of this story.

    Denzel...always great. With the exception of Training Day. But the plot and premise of this movie is not plausible at all. I understand that one would do anything for their child ( I probably would to), but there is no way I am condoning the taking hostage of a group of individuals. Totally ridiculous.

    This movie, itself, had good acting. But that's about it. The storyline was too ridiculous....more info

  • Denzel Lore
    Have never watched this movie - collected it as an esstential part of my Denzel collection......more info
  • John Q
    The movie was in great shape and exactly what I was hoping it would be when i purchased it...more info
  • John Q (2002)
    Director: Nick Cassavetes
    Cast: Denzel Washington, Robert Duvall, James Woods, Kimberly Elise, Anne Heche, Ray Liotta, Ron Annabelle, Eddie Griffin, Daniel E. Smith, David Thronton, Shawn Hatosy.
    Running Time: 116 minutes
    Rated PG-13 for violence, language and intense thematic elements.

    John Quincy Archibald (Denzel Washington) is a down-on-his-luck worker. He's about to be evicted from his home, he doesn't earn enough money, and is soon driven to the point of breaking. While at his son's (Mike) baseball game, the boy is overcome with convulsions andis rushed to a hospital, but his insurance coverage does not cover a heart transplant. He tries everything he can but can't get the money. He soon takes drastic measures as he takes twenty or so people hostage and takes over the ER at the hospital to get the transplant. Among the people is Dr. Raymond Turner (James Wood), a man who wishes John luck but can't give his son the transplant. Soon the situation turns into a police stand-off under the command of Lt. Frank Grimes (Robert Duvall) and Chief Gus Munroe (Ray Liotta). While Grimes wants John to surrender himself, Monroe is prepared to kill John just to end the crisis. As John waits for his son to be put on the donor list, he must take care of all the hurt hostages and keep the police from coming in. When John finds that he has the same blood-type and tissues as Mike, it become clear what he must do.

    The audience are firmly on-side as Denzel's final, desperate plea to surgeon James Woods falls on deaf ears, and we understand why he believes the only option now open to him is to hijack the emergency room at Chicago Hope. However, the scenes in which Archibald takes over the hospital fall short of the drama the audience has been wound-up to expect. In some respects, this makes the development more realistic: Denzel doesn't suddenly become Bruce Willis and launch into a mass shoot 'em up; he is an ordinary, decent man, and his hijack is clumsy and somewhat botched: "John Q" is clearly out of his depth. The problem is that director Nick Cassavettes allows the film's momentum to dip irrecoverably during these scenes. There are some confusing moments while we wait for the authorities to work out what's going on and respond accordingly. This movie isn't like that: you know John isn't going to harm anybody, and moreover, you know his son is going to get a new heart. Worse still, you know, long before the climax of the film, how this is going to be achieved. For, although we've had time to forget about the opening sequence in which a young woman is involved in a car wreck, the same footage is repeated halfway through the story, leaving us in no doubt as to the identity of our donor. In it closing moments, "John Q" keeps its dignity, sending Archibald on a race against time to save his son or perhaps sacrifice himself. "John Q" never hits the dramatic high points we might have hoped for, nor does it tug convincingly on our heart strings, but it is at least a coherent and original movie, albeit one you're likely to forget as soon as you drop it back at the video store....more info
  • Vigilante? Or heroic father? A story of corporatized medicine.
    At the height of the HMO arrogance, Corporatized Medicine believed that they could mistreat human beings in the name of the dollar. I believe, I hope, that their attitude has taken a turn as they realized humanity will not be slapped down. Stir in the extra emotion of organ donation, in which one must die for another to live, and you have the electric tension of John Q.

    John Archibald (Denzel Washington) is a good man, a hard worker, who just needs a little more luck and a few more hours at the slow factory job he holds. When his son, Mike (Daniel E. Smith) collapses at a baseball game, he is rushed to the hospital where John and his wife Denise (Kimberly Elise) discover that Mike needs a heart transplant, quickly.

    But, John's insurance won't cover it. His company switched his health plan from a PPO to an HMO to save money, and there is no provision for transplantation. Hospital Director Rebecca Payne (played surprisingly well by Anne Heche) demands Mikey's transplant be treated as a cash account, demanding $75,000 down payment before Mike can even get on the donor list. (still think the donation process is not dollar driven?)

    John tries to raise the money, but time is running out. In a desperate attempt to save his child, John takes heart surgeon Dr. Raymond Turner (James Woods) hostage, along with the emergency room staff, demanding that his son's name get on the list.

    Hostage negotiator Lt. Frank Grimes (Robert Duvall) arrives on the scene, but is hampered by the presence of media-hungry Police Chief Gus Monroe (Ray Liotta). Also present is Tuck Lampley (Paul Johansson) a television reporter hungry for 'The Story' but who is sympathetic to John's plight.

    The film is not action packed, but nonetheless has a palpable tension. It's a story of humanity, and the interactions between real people. It's a story about mistakes and redemptions, arrogance and assumptions, and the all too human core inside all of us.

    The performances are spectacular. Denzel Washington, James Woods, Robert Duvall, Ray Liotta, Kimberly Elise, Paul Johansson, and (surprise) Anne Heche do phenomenally good jobs in their roles. The photography is excellent, the editing, script, and atmosphere are great, and the musical score matches mood with the film.

    'John Q.' is one of those movies I can watch over and over again, and still feel the same emotion I felt the first time I watched it. Though the ending does have some unrealistic qualities, it fits well with the film and doesn't skip over the wrongs that John did to try and make things right for his son. Definitely a 'buy'. Enjoy!
    ...more info
  • It's just so improbable !
    I was expected a good movie and i found this movie just not good enough ! Too many coincidences make this movie not realistic at all ! The character's dialogues are just stupid and it's also full of cliches.A great deception ! A movie for Grand Daddy and Mummy for sure....more info
  • A very powerful and remarquble movie
    John Q is one of my favorite Denzel Washington movies. Denzel Washington is in my opinion one the best actors ever. He's so powerful with his expressions, movements, tones, and sentences.
    This movie is a beautiful movie that is very sad and remarquable. It's about a factory worker played by Denzel Washington who has a nice loving wife and son. And then one day, while playing baseball, his young son collapses. They take him to the hospital and find out that he'll die if he doesn't get a heart transplant, a highly costly operation. And to make matters worse, the factory worker's (named Jonh Archibald) insurance won't cover it. And since they can't afford it, John Archibald is forced to desperate measures. He holds up the hospital, locking himself in. He then orders for his son to get a transplant. The movie is very toughing and wondeful with great perfromances by Denzel Washington, James Woods, Robert Duvall and Ray Liotta. While in the hospital, John meets new people that are also trapped in. He meets a married couple with the wife pregnant, a spanish mother whose baby is sick, a weird couple with a hurt lady, a security cop and more. The movie is a great ride and will make you cheer and cry. While everyone in the hospital and out loves John, the government doesn't. And they send snipers and more to get the job done. This is a must see and is a trully beautiful story. ...more info
  • "Fighting for Care"
    "John Q" is good for some thought-provoking ideas and questions concerning the ever-growing problems with our nation's health care policies, as well as some hard-hitting performances from its arsenal of talented actors. For these reasons, the movie qualifies as an average crowd pleaser, though it's predictability, as well as some cloyed storytelling in its second half, keep it from being the powerful drama it aspires to be.

    Washington gives an outstanding performance, but is dragged by Elise's crying.... This is not one of those movies that are only worth watching on video, it's a great movie that I recommend to everyone who's mature enough to watch a boy dying right in front of his parents, at 10. Think about that. One of Washington's best line in this film is," I will not bury my son, my son is going to bury me!" Denzel Washington is amazing as always, and I've seen most of his films, I've never once been disappointed. He can play anything, and his role as a caring father in this film was enough to make me want to rate this three stars alone. But once you throw in solid dialogue, a great plot and other supporting actors, you have yourself one truly great movie.

    I was disappointed by one aspect of this movie: the fact that it wasn't released earlier that year, because Washington surely would've received an Oscar nomination for this instead of "Training Day". It's hard to not like this movie and impossible to not feel for the characters. I'll see this movie again and I hope that by reading this review you'll see it too.
    ...more info
  • it made me cry
    i hope you chose to buy this movie it will make you think about the love of a father....more info
  • Tear Jerker!!
    I think that John Q was a very good movie. Yes it was fille with a lot of cliches but thats ok. Denzel Washington did a very good job acting, you can see how he really got into his role. You can also see the emotion. He is unbelieveable. When he tells his son good bye you can actually see denzel's tears and see the emotion pain on his face. I just couldn't believe how well he did. I think that they picked the perfect little boy too. It makes you think about love. Do you really love someone enogh to want to give your life so they could live? Just like to warn you, you will probably cry, even the guys....more info
  • Dog Day Afternoon meets Plan 9 From Outter Space
    John Q. is an emotional thriller that definitely keeps you on the edge of your seat... at times as a tear jerker, but at other times laughing at the ridiculous directing, scriptwriting and sometimes acting... There are some scenes you can see coming from a mile away, ridiculous melodramatics... and a blatantly (yet superficial) propagandic message...
    Wow, when was the last time YOU got to walk into a TV studio and TELL your story to the investigative reporter on the set ? - - and oh yes... JOHN Q's bearded blue collar friend was - - well, quite Blue Collar... Duval pretty much played the same cheerfully cynical rational minded cop he did in a similar victim of society gone lunatic film (Falling DOwn), there's the cold hard hospital administrator, the jerky self righteous doctor, narcisistic chief of police against the gung-ho local cops vs. the trigger happy sharp shooters... "I got da mayor on the line..." - - "Tell 'em to hold back ! hold back ! Don't shoot til I tell you..." - - "I love you Daddy !" and oh how the list goes on. - - James Wood, a GREAT actor almost seems to realize the sillyness of the film during the DRAMATIC change of heart sequence which seems something straight out of a Saturday night live spoof... "But doctor, you could get disbarred or lose your license," and Wood answers something in a ridiculously flat tone as if he's really trying to say, "Oh God, when am I going to get off this set...?" and then there are all the other great classic Hollywood (ridiculously unbelievable) close calls with sharp shooters, loaded guns, calls that don't get through at the last moment... People running desperate AGAINST TIME (cue dramatic incidental music...) In the end, as a message film, it falls flat... I mean, preaching to the choir is one thing (we ALL agree the health care system is messed up and we've all heard the figures and hey, yeah, let's go and fill out our organ donor cards, brush our teeth twice a day and eat our spinach), but beyond preaching to the choir, it doesn't really offer any other deeper insight or sparker debate beyond, "oh how cute and little the Webster like little Kid is..." and maybe making you think "What if it were my son ?" Heck yea, I might do it... So how abotu a dramatic TRIAL OF BILLY JACK type ending where Duvall says that you have a choice "Die here, or tell your story in court to the world..." -- Uh, uh... we can shoot you or you can go to jail... make your choice... In the meantime, the film just goes ridiculously overboard to touch everybody, offend nobody, and play into the mindset of an Oprah Winfrey Audience, with yet, a touch of an ABC Afterschool Special with a few jarring moments (such as the SFX on a realistic but overdramatized heart surgery.) This film would have been great paradied on STRANGERS WITH CANDY ! - - No doubt however, one should mention that Denzil Washington did put on a heck of a performance, letting the waterworks through on virtually every scene and playing a not so bright average Joe that everybody loves, just wants to save his son and has commanded a hospital ward full of... well the morbidly obese body guard, the scared sh*tless nurse, the wise *ss pimp and his girlfriend, the witty street smart black guy, and the lady about to have a baby any moment... in other words, ample comedic relief... and yes, you can smell that they're going to bond from miles a way... and as the hostage situation plays out all the elements and cliches from all the other films of that nature play out... minus the Billy Jack clenched fist salutes as he rides off into the sunset... - - Still despite this, the film did keep me glued to my seat and was a fun and exciting watch... Perhaps one day it might even be made in a more coherent manner and not try to create the ultimate feel good/feel bad/human message/police stand off/ triumph of human nature blah blah blah film. In the meantime, I think I'm going to go outside and breath a fresh of air and try to remember some of the more poignant lines. I think Robert Duval at one point may have mumbled something about faith (sometime between "cut" and getting his donut...)...more info
  • Goes for the easy cliche almost every time
    I delayed watching this movie from the simple fact that the previews gave me the impression that this was a "squashed squirrel." There are two ways to elicit emotion: 1) provide a cliche device, such as a squashed squirrel (who won't go "awwww" when seeing a small animal hurt?), or 2) earn your audience emotions by providing them with honest writing and believable situations. Unfortunately, John Q goes for the easy cliche almost every time.

    Denzel Washington is an excellent actor and try as he might, he simply can't escape from the script. At every turn he's handed another maudlin easy out. And that's really a shame because the topic addresses some fairly tough questions. There was real opportunity to provide a rich story filled with interesting dialog regarding the U.S healthcare system. Instead we're presented with stereotypes of the "rich doctor," the "mean hospital administrator" and the "gung ho cop." Been there, done that and I didn't care to see it the first time.

    Major talent is wasted as well. Robert Duvall's character, Lt. Frank Grimes, doesn't have enough material to even be effective as cast member. At the end of the movie, I was left wondering why we even needed his character - he had no arc and provided no real insight to the drama. Duvall is a fantastic character actor and he's given nothing to work with.

    The rest of the cast is mostly a mixed bag of good and bad. All Kimberly Elise can do is play anger as Denise Archibald, John's wife. Her performance was disappointing since her character had the most to work with. James Woods and Anne Heche can likewise do little in their roles than play the stereotypes that they've been given. However Eddie Griffin did standout as one of the more honest characters as Lester Matthews, one of the hostages. Granted, his role didn't require much of a stretch, but it was a breath of fresh air and one of the few redeeming elements of the movie.

    The bottom line is that James Kearns, the writer and co-producer, simply provided nothing but a sow's ear to the cast and no amount of magic was going to turn it into a silk purse. Kearns' work may have been appropriate for "Jake and the Fatman", or "Highway to Heaven", (he wrote for both TV series), but it simply wasn't up to snuff for the cadre of talent on the playbill....more info

  • Action movie with a political edge
    It is not often one encounters a mainstream Hollywood movie with an overtly liberal agenda and it is its attack on the American public health sysytem that is by far the most interesting thing about this re-run of Dog Day Afternoon in which a hospital stands in for a bank as the buildinh being held up.
    John Q Archibald is a hard working factory worker on part time and feeling the economic pinch as he can only stand by as his wife's car is repossesssed owing to missed payments.The marriage is under strain and his world collapses totally when his son collapses and is diagnosed with an overly large heart which needs to be transplanted or else death is imminent.The problem is finance -he turns out to be underinsured and despite major endeavours he is still sdhort of the sum required when the hospital transfer him to the county hospital with its lower standards of medical care.
    Result? He bursts into the hospital and takes a number of medical staff and emergency patients to draw attention to his plight and force the hospital to traet his son.
    The police negotiator -Robert Duvall -tries to end the siege peacefully in the glare of media scrutiny ,handicapped by the publicity seeking police chief -Ray Liotta ,and the cynical money conscious hospital administrator -Anne Heche

    The siege sequences are standard by the numbers big Hollywood movie making but the acting is strong enough to carry the viewer through some over familiar dialogue and situations but the barbed references to medical cynicism and the plight of the economically disadvantaged keep the movie alive and out of the mundane.
    Providing you don't mind some emotionally manipulative scenes towards the climax this is good and provocative movie making that asks some pertinent questions about just how long we should tolerate the situation wherby
    inequalities in wealth lead inexorably to gross inequalities in health .

    Recommended for the issues it raised without preaching....more info

  • The Best Movie Ever!!
    Denzel Washington is truly an amazing actor. In this film he protrays the part of a father with a dying child. In this thrilling drama he shows so much emotion, it makes you want to cry. I've seen it more than three times and I still cry when I watch it. It's that good!...more info
  • Missed opportunity...
    Denzel Washington, like Johnny Depp, is a rare breed of a Hollywood actor. He's a "pretty boy" who can actually ACT. When watching one of his lesser films, his performance almost makes me forget that the material he has to work with is mediocre (Fallen) to the point of being almost horrible (the Bone Collector).

    Denzel Washington. An excellent actor with a questionable agent. I call it the "Morgan Freeman" syndrome.

    After Training Day, all eyes were on Denzel's next film, John Q. To put it bluntly, what had the potential to be a terrific film nearly falls flat on it's face. It's obvious that director Cassavetes' heart was in the right place (his daughter was the inspiration for this movie), but the script is pretty bland. It starts out great, but once John takes the hospital staff and patients hostage, it just turns into something that we've all seen before. There's a few moments that are pretty tense and tear-jerking, but it's not enough to save the movie.

    Two stars for the movie; one star added for Denzel's great performance....more info

  • Denzel delivers
    Denzel holds up a hospital because doctors(James Woods and Anne Heche) wont operate on his son who is dying. Denzel is sparking as the father. Ray Liotta, Robert DuVall, Kimberley Elise, Eddie Griffin and Shawn Hatosy add to the great cast...more info
    An extremely powerfull movie staring DENZEL WASHINGTON. One of my favorite actors to this day. I think his performance is mind-blowing and powerfull. If you like those movies in which you cry and whimper a lot, then watch this one. I loved it.
    Buy this one today....more info
  • 1 st Rate Premise,1 st rate Denzil, 2nd Rate Cast, 3rd Rate Screenplay
    This movie starts out with much promise only to be disapated by blatant goofiness, and a bad screenplay. First off the movie has a strong start in which Denzil has problems at his factory only getting 20 hours a week, something we all can relate to i'm sure. Things start to get even worse after not being able to make ends meet, with an upset spouse, Denzil's little boy collapses while running between bases at a baseball game. When taken to the hospital they say either his son must have heart transplant surgery or he will die, they become distrot in the fact that the hospital doesnt even seem to care. Then when Denzil finds out his insurance carrier has changed and will only cover 20,000 he has to try and raise the money to fund his childs surgery, a whoping 250,000 dollars. So in the mist of all this he pays the hostpital 6000 dollars to keep his son at the facility, but then finds out they are releasing him the next day.

    Now it all begins, he then becomes enraged and takes the he pyshician(played by James Woods)hostage, along with an emergency room filled with nurses and a few patients. This is were things drop down hill. Robert Duvall shows up and talks to John, and i will have to say this is the worst roll i've ever seen Duvall play. He can't do a chicago accent to save his life, and his dialogue is so mish-mashed that he seems to just "get through" every line, much the same as Denzil, who really can't make a bad movie in my opinion, but can be given a bad script. The rest of the movie plays out a typical hostage situation, failed attempts to take johns life, tension between the hostages, sneak attacks from them, and oh yes the infamous wife telling her husband to just "give it up, will be fine" scenes. All of this is also plagued with some very "goofy" yes stupid dialogue between the hostages. All these charactars seem to have fallen out of some low rate made for TV film, because they just can't share the same screen with someone like Denzil, much the same with the outside police squad and Duvall. So yes this could have been a great film given the premise. Healthcare is absurd for the most part, and a lot of uninsured people should have some way to be treated without having to make payments in full. I will say this i'm not sure HOW true the circumstance are in this movie as far as heart transplantation but i'm sure in reality there would be somewhere they could fly him to, or special circumstances for there situation to "make payments" to the hospital. So if you enjoy a decent almost TV film, then you may enjoy this one, other wise watch some of Denzil's finer moments like Training Day or Man On Fire....more info
  • Not bad, but not great
    John Q. is a pretty good Denzel drama. It's not action packed, and short on explosions, but still is highly entertaining. Denzel plays a father who has a sick son. In fact, his son is staring death in the face, and his only hope is to be placed at the top of the donor list. Denzel's character is a very blue collar worker who lives in a shack and has little money. His medical insurance is lacking, as well. He is driven to the edge, and does what any good father would.. he fights for his child, and lays his life on the line. Not a bad flick....more info
    JOHN Q is shamelessly manipulative film; it pulls all the right buttons at all the right times, but in essence, it's a well done and evocative drama fueled by a powerhouse performance from Denzel Washington. His dilemma is carefully etched and his solution, while not the right one, ultimately brings about the dramatic miracle Washington so valiantly seeks. While a bit preachy about the health care situation, the movie makes its point for Washington's case. The life of a little boy is certainly more important than bureaucratic red tape, and hospital hierarchy. Washington is supported by a fine cast: Kimberly Elise as his devoted wife; James Woods as the heart surgeon who undergoes a change of heart; Shawn Hotosy as an ER hostage with his own problems; Robert Duvall as the crusty police negotiator; Ray Liotta as the egotistical chief of police; David Thornton as Denzel's friend Jimmy; and Anne Heche as the apparently coldhearted hospital administrator.
    Yes, there are cliches but the movie's message rings clear and it's so well done, it can't help but move you....more info
  • Criminal or father or the year?
    Mike Archibald (Daniel E. Smith) seemed perfectly healthy until he collapsed at a baseball game. He's taken to Hope Memorial Hospital where Dr. Raymond Turner (James Wood) advises the family the child needs a heart transplant.

    Unfortunately, John Q. Archibald (Denzel Washington) has an HMO and the surgery isn't covered. Despite the family being barely barely able to survive financially, they don't qualify for Medicare. John hocks everything he owns and pays the hospital a hard raised $6,000, they're going to release Mike. Mike's Mom (Kimberly Elise) tells John to DO SOMETHING.

    The only thing John can think of to stop his son being released to go home and die is take the hospital ER hostage. He takes a gun--which he has not yet sold--and does just that.

    Everyone has an agenda in this. The Police Chief (Liotta) wants to appease the mayor in an election year. The press want a story that will rival OJ's escapade with the white Bronco. The other patients in the ER want to get their own healthcare issues taken care of. Hostage negotiator Frank Grimes (Robert Duvall) wants everyone out alive.

    "John Q" is one of the most compelling films I've seen in a long time because the story is entirely real. This is one of Denzel Washington's, James Wood's and Duvall's best performances to date. The story will have you in tears and cheering at points--and hopefully asking some meaningful questions about your own healthcare coverage.

    Rebecca Kyle, May 2008
    ...more info
  • John Q.
    Excellent film great acting. Not overdone, somewhat realistic except for the ending. We care about the characters. Thats why we watch movies. ...more info
  • No Thank Q
    Let me get this straight . . . Denzel Washington takes hostages and demands a heart transplant for his kid because he has a lousy HMO? "John Q" is unrealistic, full of cliche characters, and ultimately predictable. James Woods and Anne Heche are especially painful to watch in their one-note performances as the heartless heart surgeon and the ice-cold hospital administrator. "John Q" tries to be the "Dog Day Afternoon" of the health care industry, but misses the target badly....more info
    Denzel diserved another oscar for this performance! This movie
    shows you how much insurance companys really suck, and how money
    is more important than a human life! If this movie doesn't put
    tears in your eyes, you're not human! I won't write a book for
    a review like some people. I'll just say, this is a great movie,
    that everyone should see....more info
  • Average should have Been Better
    You Know Denzel Washington is a Gifted Actor when He can take a Average film like this&Make it Compelling for a many cliches hurt it&alot of Good Solid Talents are given lackluster material to work with here....more info
  • Not by a socilist
    This movie is pretty good. We aren't talking great, but good. Other reviews here have made good points: Washington does an incredible preformance, and the proceeds should have gone to chairity. I'm not a socialist, but I do think this country should have free health care. All these people are blabbing off about what a good country this is. If this is such a great country, then shouldn't we be able to pull off a free service like Britian?...more info
  • John Q - Denzel Washington
    A WONDERFUl movie -very touching - very inspirational,
    very Denzel Washington - GREAT actor!...more info
  • Great Actors, Average Plot
    Firstly, the plot is weak in places. It is predictable, it is clished, it is a Hollywood blockbuster. Without the cast it would be 3 stars, or less.

    But, with the acting ability of the whole cast, the film is saved. Denzel Washington plays John Q. Archibald, who's son needs a heart transplant, but of course, its gonna cost ya. James Woods plays the evil dude once again, and tells John he needs to pay 250k, but unfortunately John is not insured and cannot pay it, and his son will die. So, the rational explanation is obviously to hijack the ER and hold everyone hostage until they put his son on the transplant list. Robert Duvall plays the police negotiator, who you snense feels almost sorry for John, but Ray Liotta comes in and plays mr. steelballs ordering someone to snipe John. The plot unravels (predictably) but ends well, leaving you feeling all nice and warm inside.

    Very good cast, acting, ok plot, 4 stars....more info
  • Strong Drama
    John Quincy Archibald kidnap sentence probably put him jail for 20 years plus. The lawyers downplayed the kidnapping charge by saying his sentence would be two to three years. John's son will receive an emergency transplant and live and John will spend most of his life in prison.

    John Q son's transplant in the movie cost $250,000 and John Qs insurance covered 20k, HHMO, 2 tier castrophic event. The hospital received 22k from John with the expectation of 75k before putting him on a list.

    The Health care management looked cold and unsympathic to the uninsured patient. HHMO looks like a cost cutting plan, an alternative to the rising cost of health care.

    The cost of Health care proportion to wages was disproportionate. John Q earning 18k a year and work 20 hours a day. If a person has an emergency and no insurance, the hospital stablizes but does not offer futher treatment. Hospital Administrator, Rebecca Payne tells Frank Grimes, "there are 50 million uninsured Americans and I have to decide and we can't take care of all of them. I have to decide who receives care."

    Frank encourages John to have faith, telling him faith is believing in something you don't know; Frank tells John that he will either go to jail or die, if he does surrender; Chief of police, Gus Monroe order a sniper hit on John that injuries John but gives John an opportunity to capture the sniper; and Frank tells John that the crowds don't matter and that there is only him and John. John Q story is a tragedy, a desparate man, a people's hero, a secret pawn of national media, and a blue collar worker. John extreme solution saved his son's life, allowed him to keep his promise to find a new heart for his son, and invoke fierce loyalty from his wife.

    In the last scene John believes he must kill himself to save his son, giving his heart for the transplant. John tells his son to "stay away from the bad things in life", "stand up for important things", "and to know he will always be with his son, in his heart."

    The stories ending is anti-climatic, whereas, "Pursuit of Happiness" inspires the viewer to believe in prevailing through the system. The anti-climatic theme is that the "Health care system is broke" and will continue failing to meet the basic needs of average people, perhaps, a voice of discontent that costs are favoring the privileged. John tells his son to grab as much money as possible, telling him that everything is better with money. Maybe someday, the return of the country doctor will make sense as HHMO become more expensive and health coverage more difficult to purchase....more info
  • Nice Try; No Cigar
    The quick shot of the lamentable Hilary Clinton at the end of this epic gave the whole thing away--A Libber hatchet job on the American health care system.

    When appealing to the lowest common denominator intellect--Democrat voters--all it takes are easy targets and some hearts and flowers, all of which are in ample abundance in this movie.

    Knuckledomes and Kerry devotees will eat it up.

    All others, stay away....more info

  • Good Movie -- Just fast forward through some at the end.
    John Q is about a working-class man whose young son, Mikey is in need of a heart transplant, which his insurance will not cover. Thus John (Denzel Washington) does the only thing he can think of: he holds the emergency room hostage, and even intends to commit suicide to allow his heart to be transplanted into his son.

    The acting is superb. In addition to Washington, the cast includes Robert Duvall as a police negotiator and James Woods as a heart surgeon, both of whom do an excellent job. Anne Heche as a hospital administrator is good, while Ray Liotta's portrayal of the cheif of police can be questionable at times. The only bad acting, in my opinion, is done by the man who portrays the newscaster; he seems very over-the-top and cheesy.

    The dialogue is well-written, and you can judge for yourself on how realistic the premise is.

    What caused me to give the film 4 stars instead of five (and even came close to bringing it to 3) is the preaching about the sorry state of America's healthcare system in the penultimate segments, with leftists such as Hilary Clinton and (if I recall correctly) Jesse Jackson giving speeches about how America needs more socialism in not so few words. In doing this they alienate a large portion of the potential audience. Without it, a veiwer could draw what conclusions he feels are appropriate; perhaps just a portrait of a father's love for his son, rather than a call for socialism.

    It is also surprising that two of the few conservative actors in Hollywood -- Duvall and Woods -- and others who, as far as I know, tend to keep their views on politics to themselves would star in a film that comes close to left-wing propaganda toward the end.

    All in all though, it is a well-made film. Just fast-forward through the soapbox segments near the end....more info
  • Denzel At His Best
    John Q is a simple film that will please the crowd. Denzel Washingtion is in top form as usual as are Ray Lilota and Robert Duvall. The direction by Nick Cassavates is some of his finest since She's So Lovely. After watching this film I asked myself would I do the same thing for anyone I loved and the answer is yes,...more info
  • There is no stopping this man
    Denzel made me cry in this movie. This movie is powerful and touching at the same time. Denzel once again gives an unforgettable performance. There is no doubt about it this movie has to be in your movie collection....more info


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