100% John Wick Oct 24
No Score Yet Ouija Oct 24
No Score Yet 23 Blast Oct 24
62% Laggies Oct 24
58% White Bird in a Blizzard Oct 24

Top Box Office

79% Fury $23.5M
88% Gone Girl $17.8M
77% The Book of Life $17.0M
64% Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day $12.0M
8% The Best Of Me $10.2M
23% Dracula Untold $9.9M
47% The Judge $7.9M
31% Annabelle $7.9M
62% The Equalizer $5.4M
63% The Maze Runner $4.5M

Coming Soon

86% Goodbye to Language 3D Oct 29
48% Saw Oct 31
83% Nightcrawler Oct 31
57% Before I Go to Sleep Oct 31
50% Horns Oct 31

John Q (2002)


Average Rating: 4.4/10
Reviews Counted: 131
Fresh: 30
Rotten: 101

Critics Consensus: Washington's performance rises above the material, but John Q pounds the audience over the head with its message.

Average Rating: 4.1/10
Reviews Counted: 36
Fresh: 5
Rotten: 31

Critics Consensus: Washington's performance rises above the material, but John Q pounds the audience over the head with its message.


Average Rating: 3.6/5
User Ratings: 168,665


Movie Info

A national health care crisis in the United States yields this tense drama from screenwriter James Kearns and director Nick Cassavetes, who experienced a real-life dilemma with his daughter's congenital heart disease that mirrors the one in this film. Denzel Washington stars as John Q. Archibald, a factory worker facing financial hardship as a result of reduced hours in his workplace. When his young son, Michael (Daniel E. Smith), is stricken during a baseball game, John and his wife, Denise … More

PG-13 (for violence,language and intense thematic elements)
Directed By:
Written By:
James Kearns
In Theaters:
Jul 16, 2002
Box Office:
New Line Cinema - Official Site


Friend Ratings

No Friends? Inconceivable! Log in to see what your friends have to say.

Critic Reviews for John Q

All Critics (143) | Top Critics (39) | Fresh (30) | Rotten (101) | DVD (25)

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 as it tackles an issue that touches us all.

Full Review… | January 21, 2003
L.A. Weekly
Top Critic

A polemic in search of a plot.

Full Review… | November 6, 2002
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Top Critic

Manipulative sentimentality, contrived plot and phony climax.

March 13, 2002
New York Observer
Top Critic

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.

March 4, 2002
Arizona Republic
Top Critic

It pulls out more stops than that old silent serial The Perils of Pauline. Unfortunately, it's a talkie.

Full Review… | February 24, 2002
New York Magazine/Vulture
Top Critic

Cassavetes thinks he's making Dog Day Afternoon with a cause, but all he's done is to reduce everything he touches to a shrill, didactic cartoon.

Full Review… | February 21, 2002
Entertainment Weekly
Top Critic

Thought-provoking. Too intense for young teens.

Full Review… | January 1, 2011
Common Sense Media

Strands good actors in mushy, movie-of-the-week material. [Blu-ray]

Full Review… | May 17, 2009
Groucho Reviews

A hokey and often silly commentary about the medical industry, and corruption within the establishment.

Full Review… | April 29, 2009
Cinema Crazed

The movie comes dangerously close to saying that the solution to a personal grievance is, well, terrorism, when you get right down to it.

Full Review… | September 24, 2007

Social messages, simplistic action, and teary melodrama are manipulatively but unsuccessfully mixed in this picture, which tries to provide a "hard" look at an honest working-class man (Washington) who loses control while trying to save his child's life

Full Review… | December 18, 2006

Instead of presenting the story and allowing us to draw our own conclusions, Cassavetes blatantly tells us what we should think.

Full Review… | January 7, 2004
Star-Democrat (Easton, MD)

Washington, Woods, and Duvall are so capable, they almost save this schlock-fest from itself.

Full Review… | February 8, 2003
Film Quips Online

An emotional, heart-wrenching story that not only takes viewers on a journey within their own souls, but also opens up their eyes to the way the health care system works.

Full Review… | December 8, 2002
Film Threat

It may push more buttons than envelopes but John Q is a good old fashioned potboiler that generates ripped from the headlines heat.

Full Review… | December 8, 2002
Film Threat

"Socially conscious" Denzel Washington thriller wants to tackle tough questions -- but settles for easy answers.

Full Review… | November 7, 2002

'John Q" is a manipulative thriller, but unlike most such films, it has a worthwhile social policy point to make and some top-notch acting talent to help put the point across.

Full Review… | October 24, 2002
Laramie Movie Scope

It quite literally offended me as a movie-goer.

Full Review… | October 19, 2002

Beats us over the head and then expects us not to notice its cheap tricks.

Full Review… | October 17, 2002
Film Snobs

It can be described as manipulative, derivative and heavy-handed. In spite of all that, it kinda works in a populist-fantasy sort of way.

Full Review… | October 15, 2002
Cincinnati Enquirer

While it scarcely touches on the inadequate American health care system, it's at least got something to say, rather than just gush.

October 2, 2002

John Q's agitprop requires audiences who think art is worthy if it affirms their moral beliefs.

Full Review… | August 27, 2002

At times, John Q. plays like Dog Day Afternoon crossed with a human resources seminar.

Full Review… | August 22, 2002
Lawrence Journal-World

Denzel is great, the movie is not.

Full Review… | July 9, 2002

Audience Reviews for John Q

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

John Manard

Super Reviewer

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.

Jeff "The Dude" Lebowski

Super Reviewer

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.

Melvin White

Super Reviewer

Denzel can't save this awfully directed movie. Awful direction/cinematography/script. There's literally a scene where a woman goes, "Why are you so brave?" ...the hell? Denzel carries this movie. Without him, this movie would've been crap.

Albert Kim
Albert Kim

Super Reviewer

John Q Quotes

John Q. Archibald:
I will gladly pay you Tuesday for a heart transplant today.
– Submitted by Jesse K (19 months ago)
Mike Archibald:
Dad! Thank you.
– Submitted by Adam O (19 months ago)
Mike Archibald:
No goodbye, you know I don't like goodbyes. See you later!
– Submitted by Adam O (19 months ago)
Denise Archibald:
I would tell you what I think of you, but I am a Christian woman.
– Submitted by Adam O (19 months ago)
John Q. Archibald:
My son is dying and I'm broke. If I don't qualify for Medicare, who the hell does?
– Submitted by Adam O (19 months ago)
Denise Archibald:
They are releasing him, now you need to do something! Do you hear me! Do something!
– Submitted by Adam O (19 months ago)

Discussion Forum

Discuss John Q on our Movie forum!