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John Q

Crime . Thriller . Drama

John Q is a 2002 film by Nick Cassavetes; starring Denzel Washington as John Quincy Archibald, a father and husband whose son is diagnosed with an enlarged heart and then finds out he cannot receive a transplant because HMO insurance will not cover it. Therefore, he decides to take a hospital full of patients hostage until the hospital puts his son's name on the donor's list.

Actors: Ron Annabelle , Gabriela Oltean , Heather Wahlquist , Shawn Hatosy , Ethan Suplee , James Woods , Larissa Laskin , Daniel E. Smith , Kimberly Elise , Anne Heche , Robert Duvall , Denzel Washington
Directors: Nick Cassavetes
Country: USA
Release: 2002-02-15
More Info:
  • Kevin Thomas

    An all-stops-out rabble-rouser that hurls a broadside at America's medical insurance crisis.

    Los Angeles Times Full Review
  • Steve Davis

    It's hard to imagine how anyone could remain dry-eyed while watching the scene in which John Q. tries to cram in a lifetime of fatherhood advice in a goodbye speech to his son.

    Austin Chronicle Full Review
  • Steven Rea

    This is an A-list cast toiling on a C-list screenplay.

    Philadelphia Inquirer Full Review
  • Claudia Puig

    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.

    USA Today Full Review
  • Mark Caro

    Waste in the health care system is deplorable, but waste on the movie screen isn't so great either.

    Chicago Tribune Full Review
  • David Sterritt

    It's as forgettable as they come.

    Christian Science Monitor Full Review
  • Jack Mathews

    It's not honest, and it's certainly no solution.

    New York Daily News Full Review
  • Jonathan Foreman

    Not a movie but a live-action agitprop cartoon so shameless and coarse, it's almost funny.

    New York Post Full Review
  • Mick LaSalle

    More hokey than heartfelt.

    San Francisco Chronicle Full Review
  • Jay Carr

    A well-intentioned but self-defeatingly manipulative film that amounts to an impassioned commercial for national health care.

    Boston Globe Full Review
  • James Berardinelli

    Turns out to be hopelessly mediocre -- a poorly scripted, preachy fable that forgets about unfolding a coherent, believable story in its zeal to spread propaganda.

    ReelViews Full Review
  • Rick Groen

    Like a tone-deaf singer at a benefit concert, John Q. is a bad movie appearing on behalf of a good cause.

    The Globe and Mail (Toronto) Full Review
  • Michael Dequina

    With its simplistic, didactic approach, the presence of a top-flight ensemble is the only thing separating John Q from your average TV movie of the week.

    Film Threat Full Review
  • Owen Gleiberman

    The movie could have used a brain transplant. It doesn't explore injustice -- it just exploits it.

    Entertainment Weekly Full Review
  • Sean Axmaker

    Washington's fire and righteous anger can only do so much, and the token grit amounts to a few grains of sand in the sentimental machinery.

    Seattle Post-Intelligencer Full Review
  • David Edelstein

    Denzel Washington is so powerfully earnest an actor that you never want to laugh at him -- even when you ought to be in stitches.

    Slate Full Review
  • Michael O'Sullivan

    Gripping, if manipulative and somewhat preposterous, drama.

    Washington Post Full Review
  • Maitland McDonagh

    The movie's tone and plot twists are so ludicrously overwrought that even Washington's admirably restrained performance -- can't rescue it from its own excesses.

    TV Guide Full Review
  • John Patterson

    A coercive script by James Kearns, and some middling direction by Nick Cassavetes, can't rob the movie of an undeniable, headlong crowd-pleasing power.

    L.A. Weekly Full Review
  • Roger Ebert

    The kind of movie Mad magazine prays for. It is so earnest, so overwrought and so wildly implausible that it begs to be parodied.

    Chicago Sun-Times Full Review
  • Michael Sragow

    The movie goes awry from the opening shots.

    Baltimore Sun Full Review
  • Keith Phipps

    Plays less like an exposé than a piece of exploitation, its clear divide between good and evil allowing no breathing room for real drama.

    The A.V. Club Full Review
  • Shawn Levy

    Washington can't save a picture that spends so much time worrying about a heart that it loses its head.

    Portland Oregonian Full Review
  • Ed Park

    Washington is in default dignified mode here. He capably embodies the hero's transformation from doughy dad to man of action, amid the movie's shameless button-pushing and cheap religious overlay.

    Village Voice Full Review
  • A.O. Scott

    So lacking in shame that it finally seems laughable.

    The New York Times Full Review
  • Todd McCarthy

    A shamelessly manipulative commercial on behalf of national health insurance.

    Variety Full Review
  • Stephen Hunter

    This movie, written in crayon by James Kearns, is too dumb to come up with a way of defeating the system by using its own rules.

    Washington Post Full Review
  • Andy Klein

    When emotion is called for, Cassavetes drags out every tear-jerking moment beyond the point of tolerability.

    New Times (L.A.) Full Review
  • Stephanie Zacharek

    Leaves you feeling as if you've been alternately milked and bitch-slapped. Its manipulation is so clumsy and obvious -- and, ultimately, it goes so far astray from its original guiding principles -- that it leaves you feeling dangled and dazed. Full Review
  • Peter Rainer

    Is it possible none of these actors read the script before they signed on? Were New Line executives perhaps too hung up on hobbits to notice how whacked out this movie is?

    New York Magazine (Vulture) Full Review
  • Peter Travers

    John Q. is as fake as that tear, an exploitative mess trying to pass as social activism.

    Rolling Stone Full Review
  • David Denby

    Falls below even minimal standards of dramatic decency. John Q is a trashy, opportunistic piece of pop demagoguery. [4 Mar 2002, p. 90]

    The New Yorker Full Review
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