Box art for John Q

John Q

thrillers


Denzel Washington stars as John Q, a man whose young son needs an emergency heart transplant. When he discovers his insurance won't cover it, he will do anything to keep his son alive.

Rotten Tomatoes® scores

  • Critic Score
    23%
  • Audience Score
    78%

common sense

PAUSE for kids age 15
Consumerism
3 out of 5
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
0 out of 5
Language
3 out of 5
Positive messages
0 out of 5
Sex
0 out of 5
Violence
3 out of 5

Thought-provoking. Too intense for young teens.

what parents need to know

Parents need to know that this is an intense film that deals with themes of death and failures of the medical system. These might be a lot for some kids to handle, particularly since a young boy's life hangs in the balance for most of the film. Violence and foul language are sporadic, limited to short scenes or moments. Fighting, stabbing, gunshots, attempted murder, and attempted suicide are featured in the film.

what families can talk about

  • Families can talk about John's actions. Are they justifiable? This film presents a perfect opportunity to talk about the status of the health care system in the United States. Is the current system fair? Should medical care be tied to ones ability to pay for it? Why or why not?

movie reviews from Rotten Tomatoes®

  • Tomatometer®

    23%
    reviews counted: 24
    see all John Q reviews
  • Audience

    78%

Top Critic Reviews

Rotten: A sappy, melodramatic Denzel Washington vehicle that ensnares you in the standard hostage-movie scenario and doesn't let go until the director runs the whole playbook.

- Bill Muller, Arizona Republic, Monday, March 4, 2002

Fresh: One can excuse the movie's missteps and melodramatic moments in the greater interest of the strong statement it makes about our health care system.

- Claudia Puig, USA Today, Friday, February 15, 2002

Rotten: Represents a creative dead end for the organ-transplant movie.

- Ed Park, Village Voice, Tuesday, February 19, 2002

Audience Reviews

3 stars

Explosive idea for a film. Denzel Washington as usual puts on a great performance.

- jmanard52, Sunday, June 29, 2008

3 stars

John Q is a good drama film that could have been much better. With Denzel Washington in the lead, it single handily saves this film from a being a bad film. The script has its flaws, but for the most part it succeeds at delivering a good two hour film. Washington as usual delivers on-screen, and he alone makes this film watchable. I enjoyed the film, thought it was an exciting drama film with a good cast starring opposite Denzel Washington. This may not be the best dramatic thriller, but for what it is, it manages to be a thrill ride from beginning to end. There are things that could have been done better, but for the most part, Denzel Washington's good acting elevates the film from being a mediocre affair to a good film. This is a good film to watch for a mindless two hours. The film has its imperfections, but for most of the time, the formula delivers excitement, drama and thrills. At times the script suffers, but like I said, Washington's performance makes up for it. John Q is entertaining and is a must see film for Denzel Washington fans. This is an underrated film and it doesn't deserve all the flack it has received. Sure it has it flaws, but it is entertaining from start to finish, and it has another solid performance from Denzel Washington, an actor who can turn a somewhat lacking film into something watchable. This is a good film for what it is, and deserves a bit more praise than it has received.

- TheDudeLebowski65, Thursday, May 24, 2012

2 stars

John Q. Archibald: My son is dying, and I'm broke. If I don't qualify for Medicare, WHO THE HELL DOES? "Give a father no choice and you leave him no option" How far would a father go for his son? Yeah. That's never been done before. And guess what. It's been done way better. John Q is an unoriginal, cliche, overly dramatic movie that even manages to rip off Dog Day Afternoon. Denzel Washington is always good, so I'm not going to complain about him, as he was okay. Everyone else for the most part sucked. Duvall and Liota weren't what I would call bad, but they were playing characters they could play in their sleep. Heche and Woods were bad, but I think a lot of the was their material. Kimberly Elise was horrible as the mother of the dying kid. Okay, now for what I really don't like about this movie. The story is dramatic enough. We have a kid who needs a heart transplant and a father that can't pay for it. But Cassavates goes to extreme lengths to add as many cliche gimmicks as he can to the film. Such as a heart monitor counting down and a series of close calls for the father. He has no confidence in the material and feels the need to insert as much garbage as possible. The movie is very predictable. If you know the premise; after the first scene of the movie you will know what is going to happen. John Q really is a bad movie. It should and could have been a tearjerker. But I was never emotionally involved. I honestly didn't care because I knew what was going to happen and I was really getting sick of watching the horrible dialogue and characters. I believe the common moviegoer will love this movie. But if you've seen more then 3 or 4 of these type of movies; do yourself a favor and give this one a pass.

- blkbomb, Tuesday, August 2, 2011