John Q [Blu-ray]

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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 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
  • JOHN Q Wants You For Socialized Health Insurance
    Do you have health insurance? If the answer is "Why no, Roman, I don't believe I do," then you really need to check out JOHN Q.

    JOHN Q, a drama starring Denzel Washington as a father who takes matters into his own hands when his insurance won't foot the bill on a new heart for his dying son, has all the elements of a great drama except one - it tries desperately, but miserably fails to really keep you guessing.

    Basic synopsis: Washington stars as John Q. Archibald, the kind of fellow who can't seem to get a break. However, his family life, while not full of monetary riches, is full of the heart-felt kind. And, when it comes to heart, no one surpasses his son, whose heart turns out to be three times too large. After young Mike Arhibald passes out on the baseball field (thunk!), doctors book him for a brief stay on the planet without a normal-sized heart, which his insurance won't pay for. The doctors and hospital administrators don't seem too sympathetic and old John Q just can't raise enough to money to fix the situation. So, in the dark of night, by the light of the full moon, he jumps the fence of a nearby pet cemetery and steals the heart of a pig in a desperate attempt to save his only son. O.k., that last part isn't true. I made it up. But, things do get nutty when John Q takes over the ER at gunpoint, demanding his son be placed at the top of the donor list.

    The Cast: Denzel Washington (HURRICANE; GLORY) does an excellent job in any role he takes on. He can be an ex-slave soldier with no real heart, a boxer with all heart, or a daddy whose kid has too much heart. His part as John Q is no exception. He does a great job of looking flustered and scared yet determined throughout the crisis, like a real father would.
    Robert Duvall (APOCOLYPSE NOW; FALLING DOWN) is no Samuel L. Jackson (THE NEGOTIATOR), but he still does a fantastic job as the "good cop/negotiator" in this crime caper. He's the police officer who does things for the "right reason."
    Anne Heche (SIX DAYS SEVEN NIGHTS; RETURN TO PARADISE) is insensitive and cold. But, hospital administrators have to be. Do you have any idea how many sick people they see every day? Don't you think they might get just a little numb to tears? Still, you will hate her in a very healthy way.
    James Woods (ANY GIVEN SUNDAY; THE GENERAL'S DAUGHTER), once again, lives up to his name as one of the best supporting actors of all time. This guy knows exactly when to push his dramatic expertise over the edge. His "didn't you ever have a dream" speech in ANY GIVEN SUNDAY is a prime example. While you really don't get too much of that in John Q, he keeps the emotion flowing.
    Kimberly Elise (BELOVED) grows on you as the momma, but she cries so dang much it makes me want to shoot myself.

    My take on the film: While JOHN Q may not have been the most-shocking movie of late, it was everything I thought it would be, which can be both good and bad.
    It had plenty of drama and great acting on the part of Washington. That was great.
    It was full of unique camera angles, music that really clicked, and casting that can't be beat. Also a big plus.
    However, all the health insurance ranting was not what I wanted to hear about. I wanted to see a drama where a daddy takes care of his boy and refuses to let the world and all its nonsensical rules stand in its way.
    Also, there were parts of this movie that no one, not even a pawn shop owner, would buy. I don't want to give anything away, but I hope the cops and judicial system don't handle a real incident the way they do in JOHN Q.
    Overall though, it was a fairly good film. It certainly wasn't GLORY or MALCOLM X caliber, but it was far from boring and kept me on the edge of my seat, even though I knew basically what was going to happen from start to finish. JOHN Q is definitely worth renting and almost certainly worth checking out in theaters, but don't expect anything Oscar caliber....more info

  • A Powerful Film!!
    "John Q" is an extremely powerful film filled with emotion and drama. The story revolves around John Quincy Archibald and his quest to receive proper medical care for his young son. His son collapsed suddenly during a baseball game due to the enlargement of his heart. The little boy desperately needs a heart transplant, but because of John's HMO coverage, which doesn't cover heart transplants and considers them elective surgery, his son's name cannot be placed on the heart recipient list. John then decides to take desperate measures and hold an emergency room hostage until his son's name is placed on the list.

    This film is saturated with deep emotion. John is not only willing to sacrifice his freedom by holding people hostage, but there's also another sacrifice he's willing to make towards the end of the film that will leave you speechless and will most likely bring a tear to your eye.

    Denzel Washington, Kimberly Elise, James Woods, and Anne Heche give excellent performances. Anne Heche is so convincing that you truly hate her character throughout most of the film. I would highly recommend this film. Not only is it entertaining, but it's also very imformative. You won't be disappointed!!!...more info

  • Great Message. Great Acting by Denzel. Horrible Script.
    John Q. has several problems. You watch the movie and you wonder, "How did they get all these actors to do such a crummy movie?" It was a question that boggled many but was finally answered upon seeing the entireity of the movie. Everyone involved knew what they wanted and cared about the message, but could not even fathom the terrible mess it would become. When sitting down to write the script, I'm sure the idea of health insurance and it's wrongful ways would make a good movie with an overwhelming message to let people know that they are not the only ones who think the health insurance plans are ridiculous and downright awful at times. When I first saw the trailer, I was impressed that a movie was going to touch on a subject that has battled with many americans throughout their lives. I was excited to finally see this movie and hear what they had to say. Did I get the message? Yes, I did, but not like I wanted it. The message was there, but the problem was it was completely succumbed by the horrible script and at times the unfinished arguments. I have never heard so many awful lines in a movie. Every saying felt unrealistic as well as ridiculous. The makers beat the audience over the head with the message so many times you almost want to rebel against it. It is completely over-the-top in religious christianity. There were so many stupid lines trying to make a point in the direction of christianity but came off as so pointless causing the viewer to be turned off. During the hospital scene, the hostages would constantly argue with one another bringing up pretty good discussion topics to why America and the systems we have are they way they are. But once again, this was unfortunatley messed up. A discussion topic would always be brought up but never concluded. It was terribly unsatisfying to see this and made the viewer want to say, "What's the point of bringing these discussions up if they are never answered and have nothing to do with the movie?" It's another cheap shortcut in hollywood to take up time between the main plot in the movie. The makers of the film, as well as the actors, obviously wanted to touch the hearts of audiences with it's message on health care. It's a great topic and I believe this could have been a really great film, but as the film makers now know, as well as the audience, you can't have a great topic with great acting surrounded by a lousy script and plot. For it's because of these things the message was drowned causing a once thoughtful idea, into a complete laughable mess....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

  • Funny; I think I'm going to be ill
    Is there anything more cynical and hypocritical than a big-budget, major-studio movie that tries to make a buck off people's unfounded guilt over living in a capitalist country? I thought "The Other Sister" set the standard for manipulative cinema, but "John Q" really has to take the cake. Preachy, simplistic, filled with cliches and "moving" oratory about the
    failings of a health-care system that covers about 85% of the population, this movie is eerily similar to the "Socialist realism" that passed for art in the Soviet Union before it collapsed. Even worse, after the ridiculous melodrama has passed, the movie subjects viewers to a a parade of (empty)
    talking heads like Hillary Clinton and Gloria Allred bleating about how we need universal (in other words, socialist) health care in this country. Apparently since Marxist ideas have worked so well in Poland, China, and Cuba, it's high time we tried them here. I think these peoples' attitudes were best exemplified by the quote from Bill Maher, who said something to
    the effect of "We could have national health care, but we don't want our taxes raised." Gee, if people don't want national health care, is the government supposed to force it on them at gunpoint? (Probably). Maybe people figure they're already paying enough in taxes, and don't really feel like paying even more so the government can give to some people what most of
    us have to earn. How greedy of them. What's next, a movie about how we should all pay higher taxes so the poor can afford high-definition TV's? Sheesh....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
  • 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
  • A "what would you do" situation
    OMG! Because I work in the health profession, this is my favorite movie cause I see it all. It makes you think; exactly what would you do in a situation when all of a sudden all you have is nothing but your family?...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
  • Health Insurance for Everyone. Not!
    I saw this movie at school and we had a discussion afterwards on health care in America. Health care in America is very inadequate to those that are in dire need of insurance. Denzel played a devoted father and husband whose son needed a heart transplant and wasn't able to get one unless he had money. His coverage could barely pay for the transplant and he was in desparation to get his son on the donor list. He hijacks a hospital and is a sensation.
    The health care industry is run by a bunch of bureaucrats who care more about putting money in their pockets than they do about treating people. I am single with no dependents and have no health care coverage. I work part-time and go to school full-time. The health care industry goes against those that have children and those that don't....more info
  • Fight the System!
    This movie has an interesting premise but unfortunately falls into the traps of most mainstream movies out there. Denzel Washingston`s character threatens some peolpe`s lives and makes them hostages in an emergency room of a Chicago hospital. By doing so, he hopes that his ill soon will get an heart transplant since his health care can`t cover it. This will lead to a troublesome situation that gets the attention from the media and leaves the country in suspense. But John Q is, after all, just a nice guy that loves his son and will sacrifice himsfelf to save him if required.

    Director Nick Cassavetes brings food for thought and raises questions about the health care system, heroism, altruism, individualism, relationships and media power, but the plot isn`t particularly clever or subtle. The story here follows the more obvious, predictable and basic approach, typical of an average hollywood movie.
    Despite a couple of good ideas and moments, this soon turns into cheap, unoriginal and tired melodrama with stereotyped characters and a set of old cliches. The ending comes out as completely expected and unsurprising.
    A missed opportunity....more info

  • A Big Heart
    What a touching movie.This movie star's Denzel Washington(a terrific actor ), he plays the role of a caring father that would sacrifice his life for his son.
    John Q. lives a normal life with his wife and 9 year old son.John's whole life is about to change all at his son's baseball the game he uncovers that his son has a physical problem.he rushes his son to the hospital.the doctors tell him that his son has a deadly heart disease and will need a heart transplant.JOhn will stop at nothing to get a heart fof his son.It will cost $250,000 to do the surgery the down payment is $75,000 ,he cant come up with that amount of money.He makes many sacrifices but still does not even come close to that amount of money.
    He decides to keep the heart surgeon hostage untill they put his sons name on the donors list.he ends up with the whole hospital hostage,all of this is happening while his son is dying
    This movie has a great story and a terrific ending.Their were short scenes of a woman in a car accident she ties up with the whole story at the end.the interesting thing about this movie is that it is a true story!
    a great quote is when John wants to kill himself because the chances for his son's heart is coming out pretty slim he says "I will die, but my son will live......"...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
  • John Q - Denzel Washington
    A WONDERFUl movie -very touching - very inspirational,
    very Denzel Washington - GREAT actor!...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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
    this man is by far one of the best actors ever. anytime you see a movie and it has denzel washington in it, you know it's going to be good. that's just how he does it. anytime he's on screen he just commands all attention, and everybody's like damn, there's denzel, ready to put it on them. he commands your attention. great actor, love this guy, impossible to do it better. there's just something about him that never lets you down. in john q, he just seems to do it again. he brings it to the table. this movie is fantastic. he gives you that emotion, that fire, and you can't help but be amazed. in this movie he portrays a father who was given no other choice. he had to do what he had to for his son. it just goes to show, you do things the right way no one will listen. so you got to do something drastic to get their attention. you don't even want to get me started on health care. it's hard when you aren't making mega money, or your job doesn't have any insurance. i went with him all the way in this one. what do you do when a life's hanging in the balance. no doubt, do what you have to. even if it means sacrificing yourself. this is enough to keep your pulse pounding. bravo, to you denzel. as for his costar kimberly, can't leave her out. she brought that emotion as well. she's a very good actress, and i definitely applaude her for that. overall this movie was great, and a very good point. if ever in a crisis like that, you do what you got to do. low key denzel does it again. this man is gold. ...more info
  • John Q DVD
    I was very pleased at the quality of the DVD that I recieved, and the quikness that it arrived at my residence. I would highly recommend this seller and this site to people looking for bargains. The price was great too....more info
  • Holly wood liberal propaganda
    This is not a movie; this is liberal propaganda for socialized medicine. The little boy gets a heart and his Daddy goes to jail for forcing the system to give him one. In Canada or England the little boy just dies....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
    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

  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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

  • Ahead of Its Time, Startling, Watch Sicko also
    I have always liked Hollywood movies that put the secret intelligence world on the spot:
    Enemy of the State
    Breach (Widescreen Edition)
    Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

    This movie is so on target, but I did not want to watch it because I tended to put it off as over the top. After watching Michael Moore's Sicko (Special Edition), I went and rented this movie and am glad I did. If you wish, read my review of Sicko before watching John Q.

    I'm not going to give away the ending, there are many excellent reviews below, but the bottom line is that our medical system is totally corrupt, trapping good people in a very bad system. We need to change that.

    ...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

  • Denzel saved a some-what average movie-plot
    WEll denzel does it again. HE did in training day, philidelphia and once again. THis plot has been re-done so many times that it has grown to be a bore. But denzel shines in this role and makes this movie touching.
    well-worth your money.................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

  • 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
  • Another Great Movie For Denzel.......
    Even though the part of the film where Denzel's character(John Q) taking over an Emergency Room and holding a handful of hostages was not realistic for the seriousness of the movie, the movie was great. You saw and felt the love between a father, mother, and son. A movie where u can feel each and every emotion the main characters felt, made this movie a great film....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
  • Adorable
    When I found out Denzel Washington starred in this movie, I knew I just had to see it as he is by far my favorite actor.

    A touching but funny movie about a man who has a kid with a heart growing larger than it should. During a baseball game, his kid collapses and they quickly take him to hospital. Little does John. Q know what lies ahead when they take his kid to the hospital. First off they would have to pay $10,000 for his son to get an operation and what makes matters worse is that they don't have the kind of money nor do they have insurance so really they're lying the lane of death for their son.

    The first half of the movie is so powerful and emotional as matters gets saddening. It really would be the pits to have your son dying and you don't have the money to get him or her to get the only chance to save him or her. But the most unexpected thing comes to place after the movie moves on.

    John. Q decides to hold the hospital and the people in it hostage until he gets what he wants -- the operation for his kids. For hours and hours, police try to figure a way to get into the hospital and surround him but John. Q always has something for them. As time goes by, the hostages begin to know John. Q a little better and soon begin to like him. It becomes funny when John. Q lets a woman out and she gets interviewed by a reporter. She tells the reporter that John. Q is a nice guy and wished she was back in there as a hostage!

    In the end, you'll find out that John. Q is about to give up his life for his son's but is luckily saved by his wife when the people decide to give Q's son the operation. After his son is fixed finally, John. Q would have to go to prison for holding the people inside the hospital hostage. This movie is such a great film because it stars Denzel Washington. You'll always know that any movie with Denzel Washington in it will be great because he puts so much effort into the movies he stars in. John Q is a sad but funny movie. If you like Denzel Washington's movies, then watch 'Training Day', 'Remember the Titans' or 'Hurricane'. They are all fantastic! THANKS DENZEL FOR MAKING THE BEST MOVIES!!!

    One love
    -Junkyard Dog...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
  • 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

  • Not really a review.
    I gave this 3 stars because I am required to give it something and Denzel is always worth at least that. But I have not seen the movie, and though I probably will (on the strength of Denzel), I just could not let the "AMAZON Review" pass without comment: "The pathetic state of health care in the U.S. ..." Oh, puh-LEASE. Troubled, in some aspects? Yes. Sometimes unfair? Sure. But PATHETIC? I beg you, people, return to the real world.......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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • Get the tissues out
    This is one of the most heart-wrenching movies I've ever seen. You really identify with Denzel Washington, and a couple of the other characters. I first saw this film at the cinema on the 1st May 2002, and it's one of those meaningful dates/films in my life, for different reasons. I'll always remember this film for those reasons.

    The very start of the film won't make sense - but keep watching, believe me, you'll figure it out long before anything actually happens.

    I wouldn't have chosen any other actor to play Denzel Washington's character. He played the part well, whether crying about his son, or threatening to kill himself, just so his son could have a heart. He really throws himself into the film totally, and the other actors support him totally - except Anne Heche, who is just expressionless throughout.

    Re-watching this movie, a year and a half afterwards, it had a different effect on me, and it almost seems to be based on a true-life story. Especially right in the last shot, when you see "for Sasha". It may have certain elements from true life, as all films do, but I was very surprised NOT to see "based on true life" on the cover or during the film credits.

    The lovely Shawn Hatosy also stars in this, looking very nice all dressed in black, and much sexier with darker hair. (He's starred in another of my fave films, Down To You). Robert Duvall is also great, although he's played this type of character so often; you don't really notice him.

    The little kid (who's name I forget) was just unbelievable in this. He played the part so well, although he spent the best part of it in bed! Along with his screen dad, they were the best characters in this movie.

    This is definitely a surprising movie, and I'm pleased to own this on DVD. You'll definitely need some tissues, especially when Denzel Washington starts crying!...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
  • 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
  • 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
  • The movie stars Denzel Washington (The Movie Still Sucks)
    Denzel, Robert Duval, James Woods, Ray Liotta - and yet none of these talented artists could save this debacle of a movie. This good guy gone bad genre has got to end!

    I was truly amazed at how choppy, awkward, and just plain stupid the lines are. The seem so random and inappropriate that at times I laughed. There is absolutely no sense of despair - the audience quite frankly yawns. Did the director want the audience to feel the internal struggle Dr. James Woods has - wether to operate or not? What was the point of having that annoying guy who hit his wife? To take attention away from a supposed HOSTAGE SITUATION!!!! HELLO??!?!?! This is like SONY'S MY FIRST FILM. We have another supposedly dramatic struggle between the veteran Duval and the flashy new chief, Ray Liotta - is this what passes for character development???? The crowd cheering on John Q from the outside of the hospital, truly pathetic. This movie should have been named John Doe - hopefully no one would claim it......more info

  • Great Suspense and Emotion!!
    This is one of Denzel's best. What suspense and emotional impact!!
    You will not be able to take your eyes off the screen. Washington is America's best Afro-American actors

    ...more info
  • Too true for words
    For those who reviewed this movie that stated that this movie was 'unreal' and this 'would not happen' and it's just a propaganda for the democrats are living in dream land. Maybe they are single, healthy and never get to go to the Dr., and are not aware of the pathetic state of health care of America.

    I've had to deal myself since my son was born. My son has Recessive Dystrophic Epidermolysis Bullosa. His skin basically falls apart at the slightest touch. It is awful, brutal (see some clinical pics at my website, The only treatment that my son has is basically take care of the wounds, which cover, at times, as much as 60-75% of his body. Some of these wounds are chronic and take months to heal. Taking care of wounds is vital because if a bad infection occurs, my son could die. Infection is the number one killer of persons diagnosed with my son's condition. You would think that insurance companies would cover the medical supplies, the ointments, the bandages and everything involved in taking care of the wounds, but the reality is, the vast majority of HMOs do not. They don't because bandages and related products to care for wounds are 'over the counter', hence not covered under insurances.

    Sounds crazy? It is. And there is nothing I can do about it. Some states, if the income is low enough, provide some services that include coverage for bandages, and that is what fortunately is saving us, because I could never afford to pay the tens of thousands of dollars it takes each year just to purchase the various skin care products my son needs. I know what you're thinking... there is no way bandages cost that much! Yes they do actually... for example: an 8x10 sheet of Mepitel for deep wound coverage is $40. A roll of 1" gauze to bandage my son's hand is $1, and he goes through 4-6 of those per week, and that is just on his hands!

    It gets crazier... the various HMOs that we've had over the years have also denied to have my son seen by specialists too because they were 'out of network'. Of course they are out of network, my son's condition is one in a million, we can't expect to see a 'specialist' on this condition in every corner of the country, are we?

    I know what you're thinking... it's all my fault, yeah, the evil HMOs -- how dare they actually have the audacity to enforce the contracts people choose to purchase! Choose to purchase? I never had that choice. I never had the choice to choose between HMOs, let alone even have the opportunity to get PPOs. Medical care won't be legitimate in this country until we stop seeing ten-dollar boxes of Kleenex on the bills. Everyone gasps when I tell them how much my son's power chair cost... yes, $7,000, and there is no way it's worth that much. It is all outrageous, and the movie John Q. eloquently and effectively addresses the needs of families in a most poignant manner....more info

  • Thought Provoking
    Really surpised this movie has yet to play out in the real world, or maybe it has and I've not heard about it. Faced with a similar situation of your kid needing treatment and the hospital and insurance company denying it, I'd give SERIOUS consideration to doing what John Q did. Very entertaining movie. It will make you mad, it will make you cheer, it will make you sad. Very good cast....more info


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