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Overall Rating

Awesome: 22.95%
Worth A Look: 24.59%
Average: 21.31%
Pretty Bad: 4.92%
Total Crap26.23%

4 reviews, 37 user ratings

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John Q
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by Cochise

"Pretty dumb-ass if you ask me."
1 stars

This film torpedoed itself mostly because of the absolute dumbness of a certain part of the plot.

The movie “John Q” has an excellent premise but is destroyed by the plot.

WARNING - In order to review this film and discuss its meaning, I have to discuss certain aspects of the film you would not want to know before seeing it. Therefore . . . if you don't want to know this information, please don't read this until after you have seen the film.

The movie “John Q” has an excellent premise but is destroyed by the plot.

The film opens very strongly, starting with John Q’s car being repossessed. We then learn that John is a factory worker who is struggling to get his family out of debt. He is having a hard time doing this in spite of his wife working. He is in debt because his working hours have been reduced.

The plot line centers around the Archibalds’ son, Mike, who is nine years old and keen on little league. At one of the baseball games Mike collapses due to heart failure. Mike’s only chance for life is a heart transplant, but the Archibalds are not covered by their insurance company because John’s hours are reduced, and John has been put in a different classification by the insurance company.

Up to this point the movie is very intriguing and gripping. It gives a scathing indictment of the U.S. health system. Then the film destroys itself. John is unable to raise the money, and when the hospital is going to discharge Mike (which means that Mike will die) John (guess what?)takes the staff in the ER hostage and demands that Mike be put onto the waiting list. This is so out of character for John Q. that the movie now becomes stupid to me. The movie has become a typical hostage drama, and attention is diverted from what should be the point of the film, the faults of the health system.

This is a glaring fault. When I showed the film to my wife I skipped over the hostage part (as she hates hostage dramas) and it didn’t make the film any worse, in fact, it didn’t make any difference to understanding the story. It made the film better.
The movie literally loses the plot as hostage-taking is not a realistic way to solve the problem. The hostage part makes movie just seem like an episode of CSI or ER. This similarity even extends to a scene in the film where the police chief and cop-in-charge argue about the correct way to proceed. Some of the dialogue there even sounded like it was lifted from a television police drama. In fact, the police chief when he leaves after one of his discussions with the cop-in-charge says he has to go see the mayor. Come on? How trite can you get?

The film would have been better if we could have seen John Q. somehow fight the system legally and win. (In Julia Brechenvich, the Julia Roberts character sued the company that had poisoned the land, and won legally. It would have been ludicrous if “Erin Brechenvic” had the Julia Roberts character take the executives in the company hostage to get what her clients wanted.)

The boy becoming ill, and the subsequent treatment was not very realistic. I am sure lots of transplant surgeons wish it was as easy as the film made it look to put the heart in and start it. Many times starting the heart can be a big drama. Also, the film didn’t deal with the after-effects of the immunosuppresant medication. For example, the rich man who had received the transplant did not look like your average immediate post-transplant patient. In reality, the medication can make a transplant recipient’s face quite puffy. It is quite a recognizable look. However the movie did show that the recipient (as the operation was successful) was healthy, and this is realistic for the majority of cases.)

This movie was an eye-opener for me, as I didn’t realize what a terrible problem it is if you need a heart transplant in the USA and are not rich. I was the recipient of a heart transplant in 1988. But as I lived in Australia and am an Australian citizen, all my health costs were fully covered. All Australian citizens are fully covered by the government for any medical treatment. One does have to pay for medicines, but even this cost is mostly subsidized by the government.

I did not like this film because once the hostage drama started, the problems with the HMO insurance system are no longer in focus. This is a shame. What could have been an excellent film, was in my opinion, a pretty stupid one.

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originally posted: 10/27/05 21:17:33
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User Comments

1/23/16 mardphbco USA 2 stars
7/18/15 John jacobs Terrific Movie, what every parent would want to do 5 stars
7/18/15 John jacobs Terrific Movie, what every parent would want to do 5 stars
7/18/15 John jacobs Terrific Movie, what every parent would want to do 5 stars
3/27/11 Moica Completely ridculous melodramatic urealistic piece of garbage 1 stars
2/26/09 MARGELINE ADALLA gosh i really appreciated this film. its very touching, making us aware of health care sys 5 stars
8/13/08 Shaun Wallner Loved it Denzel Washington is great! 5 stars
3/30/08 Ana Beatriz I loved this movie!, TG that i didn't read this bad revews before, cause I could miss it! 5 stars
2/18/08 Pamela White unfortunately dealing with ins. companies are just this frustrating. 5 stars
1/02/08 Juris John Q is such a superb! great film! 5 stars
3/05/07 --- Too many unrealistic scenes and melodrama/overacting 2 stars
2/23/07 David Pollastrini liberal trash 3 stars
7/03/06 Indrid Cold Denzel is great as always, but the movie is schmaltzy, hyper-pc propaganda. 3 stars
1/03/06 cody a moving movie with soild and nice perf. by densel,good family film 4 stars
12/14/05 deadfishrman this movie wasnt bad 4 stars
11/21/05 steve newman Pleasently surprised - thought it was going to be awful 3 stars
8/25/05 ES This one and that other denzel movie are the ones I keep forgetting about 3 stars
7/27/05 Christopher Health care in the U.S. sure does suck. My insurance refused to cover my eye surgery. 5 stars
2/21/05 Captain Craig Gripping drama. Denzzel at his best 5 stars
12/09/04 Kristina Williams Fucking HMO bastard pieces of shit 5 stars
3/20/04 Jack-pyschO-Lantern Dog Day Afternoon, Swordfish & Phone BOOTH were better..................................... 4 stars
5/15/03 Tom Fleeman This was a beautiful movie. I loved it!! Denzel was brilliant! 5 stars
2/24/03 Clay Hiss the movie was a good one, people with HMO are screwed when it comes to operations like this 4 stars
1/03/03 . Just like real life for many ppl... Nice movie! 4 stars
8/26/02 Mike b Would have been a great movie if they didn't try to push their fucking agenda. 3 stars
8/10/02 Monday Morning Denzel Rules, John Q Drools. 4 stars
6/12/02 Robyn Jamil-Walid "Axe murderer" has a point but scarcely uses a name with emotional health written all over! 3 stars
5/26/02 G2 Wasn't too bad 4 stars
4/26/02 Film Guy Messy little movie 2 stars
3/28/02 Axe Murderer Gary vidmar has realy realy bad emotional problems 4 stars
3/16/02 Danielle Evans Really good movie for loud black folks!!!!!! 5 stars
2/28/02 mike d GREAT MOVIE !! REAL LIFE FOR 50 MILLION PEOPLE 5 stars
2/24/02 Boyd Petrie Heads up! Candidate for Donor List: in need of good script, acting, direction, and music! 1 stars
2/19/02 FrayLo It may have cliches, corny moments, but it is a damn good movie. 4 stars
2/16/02 Goldhammer 100% commie propaganda. Wanna donate to the Dems? Pay for a ticket. 1 stars
2/15/02 malcolm hokey as hell. w/o incredible-as-always Denzel, this film gets a 2 3 stars
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  15-Feb-2002 (PG-13)



Directed by
  Nick Cassavetes

Written by
  James Kearns

  Denzel Washington
  Robert Duvall
  Anne Heche
  Ray Liotta
  James Woods
  Kimberly Elise

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