Guest / Limited Access /
Won't Back Down
Won't Back Down
Won't Back Down
Our Rating
1½ Stars - Weak
Average Rating
 
(8 user ratings)ADD YOURSHelp
Mpaa Rating
PG (for thematic elements and language)
Genre
Directed By
Daniel Barnz
Run Time
2 hours 1 minute
Cast
Maggie Gyllenhaal, Viola Davis, Oscar Isaac, Holly Hunter
Theatre Release
September 28, 2012 by 20th Century Fox

A recent teachers strike in Chicago—shutting down schools for two weeks—was accompanied by biting, often-personal rhetoric that spilled across the country via national press coverage. Classes are now in session as the union and administration dot the i's and cross the t's on a compromise contract. If ever there were a time for a movie about the promise of education to put a soothing and inspirational salve on angry wounds, now is that time.

Give us a Stand and Deliver, Lean on Me, Dead Poets Society, or even Dangerous Minds. Unfortunately, Won't Back Down is no salve and will only soothe those who are happy to lay all of our educational system's woes at the feet of teachers and their unions. And it's stirring up controversy with critics—film critics as well as educational experts—who say it oversimplifies a complex problem while pushing an agenda of its own. (More on that later in this review.)

Won't Back Down opens with the camera tight on the face of Malia Fitzpatrick, a young, blonde, blue-eyed school girl struggling to read words on the chalkboard. She's panicking as her classmates jeer and as the teacher, clearly annoyed as she looks up from texting on her cell phone, watches the student struggle. A wider shot of the teacher at her desk includes a computer screen with a shoe shopping website loaded. Malia eventually gives up trying to read the sentence. "I can't," she says and hangs her head. And so begins this modern fairy tale that comes complete with a princess in distress (Malia), dragons (Malia's teacher, the teacher's union, and administration), and a knight in shining armor (Mom).

Jamie Fitzpatrick, Malia's mom, is played with wild-eyed optimism by Maggie Gyllenhaal. Jamie is a low-income, ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Tags:
Browse All Movie Reviews By:
Read These NextSee Our Latest
Current Issue
Subscriber Access Only
Should Your Favorite Ministry Become a ‘Church’?
Why more parachurch groups are telling the US government they’re not like other nonprofits.
TrendingWhy Do We Have Christmas Trees?
Why Do We Have Christmas Trees?
The history behind evergreens, ornaments, and holiday gift giving.
Editor's PickThe Bible Never Says ‘All Men Are Created Equal’
The Bible Never Says ‘All Men Are Created Equal’
How the New Testament offers a better, higher calling than the Declaration of Independence.
Christianity Today
Won't Back Down
hide thisAccess The Archives

In the Archives

September 2012

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.