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John Q

Movie review by
Afsheen Nomai, Common Sense Media
John Q Movie Poster Image
Thought-provoking. Too intense for young teens.
  • PG-13
  • 2002
  • 116 minutes

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 4 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

A father resorts to criminal behavior in order to get medical attention for his dying son. Criminal behavior does have consequences.


Violence limited to short scenes or moments.


Some foul language.


Some product placement.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this is an intense film that deals with themes of death and failures of the medical system. These might be a lot for some kids to handle, particularly since a young boy's life hangs in the balance for most of the film. Violence and foul language are sporadic, limited to short scenes or moments. Fighting, stabbing, gunshots, attempted murder, and attempted suicide are featured in the film.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byjoshua martinez April 29, 2010

15 and up.

john Q is a good movie that's perfect for your older teens and parents you need to know that john Q has some heavy themes that maybe too much for your youn... Continue reading
Adult Written bychristian2011 November 23, 2012

Emotionally intense movie about a child in need of a new heart.

John Q is a film about a father who goes to extreme, life-threatening measures in an attempt to give his son a heart transplant, even to the point where he puts... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byamber66 April 9, 2008


This movie is sad but good and if you are looking for a good cry this is the movie for you i was only 10 when i saw this movie and it made me cry and i never cr... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byCinemaFanatic December 21, 2009

Fantastic Movie For Older, Mature Teens

I think mature teens and up should see this movie. It's a very sad movie which deals with self-sacrifice, death, medical issues, and the sorts, the love be... Continue reading

What's the story?

When John (Denzel Washington) and Denise's (Kimberly Elise) son Mike (Daniel E. Smith) is diagnosed with a fatal heart condition, the parents are put in a tight spot. As working class parents, their health care will not cover the cost of the necessary transplant operation. So they do all they can to raise the $250,000 needed to save their son's life. But when the hospital decides to discharge Mike, John decides to take matters into his own hands. So he holds an emergency room hostage, his ransom being to get his son on the donor list for a heart transplant.

Is it any good?

While predictable, JOHN Q is gripping on a number of accounts. For one, the current state of the health care system is put on trial in this film. Make no mistake, this film is social commentary. And the message it states is loud and clear. Despite its preachiness, John Q is entertaining and features an especially fine performance by Washington, whose portrayal of a father's desperation is very palpable.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about John's actions. Are they justifiable? This film presents a perfect opportunity to talk about the status of the health care system in the United States. Is the current system fair? Should medical care be tied to ones ability to pay for it? Why or why not?

Movie details

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