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John Q.

movie reviewmovie reviewvideo review out of 4 Movie Review: John Q.

Starring: Denzel Washington, Robert Duvall
Director: Nick Cassavetes
Rated: PG-13
RunTime: 118 Minutes
Release Date: February 2002
Genres: Drama, Suspense

*Also starring: Anne Heche, Ray Liotta, Shawn Wayne Hatosy, Kimberly Elise, Eddie Griffin, Ethan Suplee, Obba Babatunde, Laura Harring, James Woods

Reviewer Roundup
1.  Susan Granger review follows movie reviewmovie review
2.  Steve Rhodes read the review movie reviewmovie reviewmovie review
3.  Edward Johnson-Ott read the review ---
4.  Harvey Karten read the review ---
5.  Dustin Putman read the review movie reviewmovie reviewvideo review

Review by Susan Granger
2 stars out of 4

Agitprop combines both agitation and propaganda in order to excite public opinion - and that's the aim of this pro-national health insurance melodrama. Denzel Washington plays John Q. Archibald, a hard-working family man who's pushed to the limit when his 10 year-old son (Daniel E. Smith) collapses during a Little League game and is rushed to Hope Memorial Hospital, where he's told that only a heart transplant can save his boy's life. Neither the callow cardiac surgeon (James Woods) not the cruel hospital administrator (Anne Heche) will authorize the placing the child's name on the heart transplant recipient list since John Q's HMO insurance won't cover the whopping $250,000 cost nor will the muddled government bureaucracy. His distraught wife (Kimberly Elise) begs, "Do something!" so John Q takes over the Emergency Room and holds hostages until his son's name is placed on the heart transplant list. Then there's friction between the hostage negotiator (Robert Duvall) and the over-zealous police chief (Ray Liotta) about how to proceed. Meanwhile, sympathetic crowds cry: "free health care for everyone." The script was written by James Kearns back in 1993, when the Clintons were pushing universal health care, and it's sympathetically directed by Nick Cassavetes, whose own infant daughter Sasha was diagnosed with congestive heart disease and is now a candidate for a heart transplant. Perhaps personal involvement made them blind to crude plot loopholes - like hostages being left alone yet never thinking of escaping. Each scene drags, underscoring the obvious, and sentiment is slathered on top. On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "John Q" is a blatantly manipulative 5 as newsreel clips of Gloria Allred, Bill Maher and Hillary Rodham Clinton emphasize its simplistic agenda.

Copyright 2002 Susan Granger

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