John Q (2001)


Dave’s 3-Word Review:
America’s Favorite Captor.

So, I discovered MGO the other day – a site that partnered with Viggle and I was able to use the points I accumulated to rent a HD movie for free. John Q was a movie that I’ve been meaning to re-watch for a good long while – as it’s one of my favorite films by Denzel Washington. However, Rotten Tomatoes has this film grossly underrated and I can’t figure out why. Sure, I rated it above and beyond, which most may not agree with – but it’s still way better than what RT gave it, my god!

John Q is about a desperate man that needs to figure something out for his son, whom needs a heart transplant, like, yesterday. The only problem is that his insurance doesn’t cover the medication costs and the hospital is basically begging him to pay cash instead – but he can’t. He can’t even cover a down-payment after selling everything he has and getting charitable donations from friends and family – so he resorts to holding the hospital hostage until they do what he asks…and everyone starts to fall in love with his story.

Now here is a heartwarming story, and different than your typical hostage crisis film. It’s clearly about the love of a father for his son as well as commentary about health insurance policies and how much they suck for the people that need help the most. I think that was the critics main issue – that the message sometimes feels like its shoved down your throat – or repeated nonstop. “Well here’s another issue about what’s wrong with the health system!”. I get that, but I never once had an issue with it. I thought it was a story wonderfully told with performances that just put you in awe.

You love these characters – right from the start they do what’s necessary to make you fall in love with them. Then, as soon as the kid collapses during that baseball game…something inside you cries out “Oh no…” You abandon your knowledge that it’s all just actors in a studio and you love these people and you want to know what happens next. It’s not only that, but you also love the fact that his own captors and the rest of the world thinks he’s a genuinely good man and don’t really care that he’s armed.

This is, in my honest opinion, a very good and successful drama. You think that it might be an action suspense film going in, but it’s a very character-oriented drama in reality – and a good one at that. There are a number of possible ways the film could end, which makes it an unpredictable experience and fun all around. I’ve seen the movie a few times, and it always has the same effect on me – and I can’t say the same thing for many movies.

The Good:

This is one of my favorite films by Denzel Washington – before he went and type-casted himself. I fear that because of his current type-casting status people won’t take this film very seriously anymore – but it is a great movie with a lot of powerful moments between a father’s love for his child and his stance against a flawed health system.

The Bad:

Can you say grossly underrated? Rotten Tomatoes makes this movie look so ridiculously bad – but it’s really good. If I had to complain about anything, it would have to be on the fact that one specific part in the movie is easily interpretable for how the film will end – which is a little disappointing – but that’s it.


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