Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Movie Review: In Defense of John Q

"John Q" is the kind of movie Mad magazine prays for. It is so earnest, so overwrought and so wildly implausible that it begs to be parodied. I agree with its message-- that the richest nation in history should be able to afford national health insurance--but the message is pounded in with such fevered melodrama, it's as slanted and manipulative as your average political commercial.

Watch the trailer:  John Q (2002) Official Trailer - Denzel Washington, Robert Duvall Movie HD



To defend a person is to understand the context of his/her actions and piece together all facts and socio-historical background. And I am here to defend John Q's actions as something morally acceptable.

We may or may not agree with his perspectives but no one can question his desire to save his son from danger. All equally loving and compassionate fathers will do everything to protect his son from danger, much more an impending death. Doing so, he offered a radical opportunity for us to rethink the context of our own morals, ethics and judgement.

However, he has been punished because societal standards on protecting the civil rights of other people should likewise be protected and uphold, but one should remember that the law is always legal but not all the time just. It is also worth noting the extent of people's participation in the process of crafting such laws.

Hence, it is necessary to seek truth from facts that surrounds the underlying factors that commands his thinking during those "unfortunate" circumstances that allowed him to take an option few of us will never think of doing, at least for the time being.

First, I want to defend him because his actions were driven by social constructs. When I say social constructs, it simply means that John Q is just a miniscule of the whole. An individual is part of a family. A family is the basic unit of society. And that society commands, in fact, even owned the families in a given society. Hence, all of us are part of the whole, and is shaped by society itself that imposes its own morals and standards to all of us. 

Second, the health insurance as a matter of social service is equally discriminating and violent. It discriminated John Q and his family. Health maintenance organization (HMOs) proved once more, at least in John Q's case, that it cannot provide a service it promised to its clients when they needed it the most.

As a matter of social service and as serious and urgent like health emergencies, HMOs should be flexible to its paying clients. It should be so since tears and blood of working people is the reason why it exists in the first place. And if they can't flex policies in times of emergencies, then they should fold.

Third, market driven hospital has no place during emergencies and urgent medical situations. They are in cahoots with HMOs and some policy makers to be exclusive to patients that can pay rather than inclusive to anyone regardless of socio-economic status in life as shown in John Q's case.

This is the saddest part of the story. Where institutions that served the interests of the few rather than the interests of the many. Health is an essential component for any country to survive. If people are not healthy, the society is sick. And if the society is sick, wealth creation will be at a disadvantaged position and all are affected both in the short-run and in the long-run.

Finally, John Q's family, friends, and other support groups showed that regardless of his actions, they look at it from a perspective of a fellow human being driven by society to commit a crime he doesn't want in the first place. After maximizing all options and failed. He chose the most damning and dangerous option in life, to force other people to help him and in the process of doing so, he has given us the opportunity to rethink our own options in life one's desperation will knock our door rather than despair in total darkness doing nothing.


I am here to defend John Q, and I will never regret doing it. History will absolve him. 

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