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Won't Back Down 

It's all cool until the anti-union stuff

Wouldn't mind having a drink with this crew
  • Wouldn't mind having a drink with this crew

Maggie Gyllenhaal stars as one of those magic white people who can overcome seemingly impossible societal problems through sheer force of will in the stale, manipulative Won't Back Down. Convincing all around her with plucky quirks and a flirtatious smile, Gyllenhaal attempts to overhaul her daughter's low-income public school and revolutionize the education system. Joining her is a weary Viola Davis, herself a teacher and mother to a developmentally challenged son. It's standard sweeping cinema, with built-in Tom Petty songs and (spoilers) feel-good ending. Which wouldn't be too off-putting, if the film didn't take a hard anti-union nosedive in its second half. Here apathetic bureaucrats and loving parents are opposed by a teachers' union that engages in actions bordering on super-villainy. It's a distracting, poor attempt to create a narratively useful enemy. Gyllenhaal really, really super loves her kid, though.

Won't Back Down
Rated PG (MPAA) · 121 min. · 2012
Official Site:
Director: Daniel Barnz
Writer: Brin Hill and Daniel Barnz
Producer: Mark Johnson
Cast: Maggie Gyllenhaal, Viola Davis, Holly Hunter, Ving Rhames, Oscar Isaac, Rosie Perez, Lance Reddick, Emily Alyn Lind, Bill Nunn and Marianne Jean-Baptiste

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