A lot or a little?
Parents' guide to what's in this movie.
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.
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?
Our editors recommend
Top advice and articles
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.