Won’t Back Down (♦♦♦♦½)
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. John Adams Elementary school has been failing its kids for years due to a combination of bad leadership and union contracts for teachers that don’t allow them to help their students after hours.
Jamie Fitzpatrick, mother of a dyslexic child, thinks the system is failing her kid. Jamie has two jobs and can’t afford a private school for her daughter so they’re both trapped in the system. That is until a chance conversation puts her on a path to revolution. Joined by Nona Alberts, a schoolteacher whose son gets bullied due to his learning disability, Jamie leads parents and teachers in a fight against the school district to force a vote so the school changes hands and thus its path.
Wow! After I finished watching this movie I was utterly excited. I confess I saw this film playing at my local theater but I passed on in favor of other productions. What a pity if I had missed this movie at all! With Maggie Gyllenhaal and Viola Davies in the leading roles one cannot expect anything but acting greatness, and Won’t Back Down doesn’t disappoint in that or any other respect.
The supporting cast is fantastic. The script is brilliant, the music, the topic—current and way too sensitive—all conspire to make this movie a jewel, but the acting abilities of Gyllenhaal and Davies make the story even more compelling. God! Those two women could start a revolution and I would follow. The leading ladies deserved at least acting nods for this movie at the Oscars instead of going for Helen Hunt and Naomi Watts, whose performances were lackluster, but hey, who am I to say such thing?
In summary, Won’t Back Down is a story that every parent concerned for their kids’ education should watch. Even if you don’t have kids this story may move you. In my case I got all wired.