Generally unfavorable reviews - based on 33 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 4 out of 33
  2. Negative: 14 out of 33
  1. An all-stops-out rabble-rouser that hurls a broadside at America's medical insurance crisis.
  2. 67
    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.
  3. This is an A-list cast toiling on a C-list screenplay.
  4. Reviewed by: 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.
  5. 50
    Waste in the health care system is deplorable, but waste on the movie screen isn't so great either.
  6. It's as forgettable as they come.
  7. It's not honest, and it's certainly no solution.
  8. Not a movie but a live-action agitprop cartoon so shameless and coarse, it's almost funny.
  9. Reviewed by: Jay Carr
    A well-intentioned but self-defeatingly manipulative film that amounts to an impassioned commercial for national health care.
  10. 50
    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.
  11. Like a tone-deaf singer at a benefit concert, John Q. is a bad movie appearing on behalf of a good cause.
  12. 50
    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.
  13. The movie could have used a brain transplant. It doesn't explore injustice -- it just exploits it.
  14. 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.
  15. Reviewed by: 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.
  16. Gripping, if manipulative and somewhat preposterous, drama.
  17. 40
    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.
  18. 40
    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.
  19. 38
    The kind of movie Mad magazine prays for. It is so earnest, so overwrought and so wildly implausible that it begs to be parodied.
  20. 38
    The movie goes awry from the opening shots.
  21. 30
    Plays less like an exposé than a piece of exploitation, its clear divide between good and evil allowing no breathing room for real drama.
  22. 30
    Falls below even minimal standards of dramatic decency. John Q is a trashy, opportunistic piece of pop demagoguery. [4 Mar 2002, p. 90]
  23. 25
    Washington can't save a picture that spends so much time worrying about a heart that it loses its head.
  24. Reviewed by: 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.
  25. 20
    So lacking in shame that it finally seems laughable.
  26. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    A shamelessly manipulative commercial on behalf of national health insurance.
  27. 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.
  28. 20
    When emotion is called for, Cassavetes drags out every tear-jerking moment beyond the point of tolerability.
  29. 10
    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.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 94 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 40 out of 55
  2. Negative: 8 out of 55
  1. Feb 24, 2013
    The underrated Denzel Washington, gives an Oscar worthy performance as John Q, a man willing to do anything to save the life of his son. This movie shows two things. How heartless the rich and powerful can truly be and how one man can make a difference. This is a powerful movie that shows how strong the relationship between father and son can be and just how important it is for every person in the country to have health care. Full Review »
  2. Jan 11, 2014
    The movie's message is heartfelt (no pun intended), and Denzel Washington gives a marginal performance, but there's something missing from John Q: Memorability. Full Review »
  3. Dec 18, 2013
    Esta pelicula me gusto, tuvo drama."John Q" tiene un drama no tan intenso, sino un drama aburrido, pero los problemas que tiene el protagonista y sus formas de solucionarlos hace que la pelicula sea entretenida. Full Review »