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Won't Back Down

2012

PG CC

Maggie gyllenhaal and viola davis play two determined mothers, one a teacher, who will stop at nothing to transform their childrens failing inner city school. Facing a powerful and entrenched bureaucracy, they risk everything to make a difference in the education and future of their children. This powerful story of parenthood, friendship and courage mirrors events that are making headlines daily.

Starring:
Maggie Gyllenhaal, Viola Davis
Runtime:
2 hours, 1 minute

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Product Details

Genres Drama
Director Daniel Barnz
Starring Maggie Gyllenhaal, Viola Davis
Supporting actors Oscar Isaac, Holly Hunter, Rosie Perez, Emily Alyn Lind, Dante Brown, Lance Reddick, Ving Rhames, Bill Nunn, Ned Eisenberg, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Liza Colón-Zayas, Nancy Bach, Keith Flippen, Robert Haley, Lucia Scarano, Sarab Kamoo, Teri Clark, Joe Coyle
Studio Fox
MPAA rating PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Captions and subtitles English Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly Details
Format Amazon Video (streaming online video)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
Filmed in Pittsburgh, the new Hollywood of the east, this film is more fictional than fact. It was inspired by a California law for failing schools. Pennsylvania does not have such a law as yet.

Jamie Fitzpatrick (Maggie Gyllenhaal) is a working single mom with a dyslexic daughter (Emily Alyn Lind) who is not getting the attention she needs at school. Unable to move or pay for her child to go to a better school, Jamie joins with a teacher (Viola Davis) in an attempt to take over the school's charter. It is an uphill battle as she must convince apathetic parents. Teachers must also be convinced to give up their union security so they can eliminate substandard teachers with tenure.

The struggles portrayed in the film were light compared to reality. The film is an emotional roller coaster ride. The movie was well acted. Because of the topic, the film engages in some union bashing while trying not to look too anti-union (remember, actors and screen writers are union too).

Tom Petty's song finally comes in during the credit roll.
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Format: Amazon Video Verified Purchase
This movie was inspirational. It was about two women (Viola Davis, Maggie Gyllenhaal) who fight for justice in the public school system so that their kids and others can be taught fairly and respectfully. Of course, like everyone else, they went through obstacles. However, they overcame them and accomplished their goals.

No matter what happens and what people do to you, always follow your heart and do the right thing.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
As a newly-retired teacher, I saw this movie in the theaters and found it to be a wonderful story that showed the best and the worst of education. After 38 years of teaching, it amazes me that there are still teachers, schools, districts that are lackadaisical and need a good 'kick-in-th-pants' to provide what the kids need. The actors in this film show the extreme of what can be done, and do such a good job of showing the dedicated and the undedicated in a wonderful profession. My feeling is, teaching is not just a job where you collect a paycheck -- it's a way to affect the future, hopefully in a good way, and although it's a lot of work it is so fulfilling. Thanks to the makers of this film and since it was based on a true story -- congrats to the people who did what needed to be done. Excellent portrayal of an important topic.
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Format: DVD
If not for the emotional resiliency of the two lead actresses, this 2012 feel-good drama about the reformation of a failing inner-city Pittsburgh school would come across as no more than a polemic. However, Maggie Gyllenhaal (The Dark Knight) and Viola Davis (The Help) bring enough intense fervor to their roles of parent and teacher that this becomes a creditable film if not all that memorable. Director and co-screenwriter Daniel Barnz doesn't help matters much by stacking the deck so predictably in the script (co-written with Brin Hill) while tackling a serious exposition problem with a lot of education jargon that feels like it requires the viewer to take some preparation exam to watch it. Watching Davis Guggenheim's 2010 documentary, Waiting for 'Superman', is probably helpful since it covers similar territory by showing how students strive to become accepted into a charter school.

The plot here takes a more contrived route as it focuses on Jamie, a single mom holding down two jobs while becoming increasingly concerned about the lack of attention her eight-year-old, Malia, receives from her teachers in treating her dyslexia and dealing with bullies. Through happenstance, she finds a little-known piece of legislation based on California's "parent trigger" law, which allows parents and teachers, under certain circumstances and after rounds of approvals, to take over schools and run them entirely.
Read more ›
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John Adams Elementary is failing, but thousands of students who can't read or write or add are getting passing grades. Nona Alberts (Viola Davis) and Jamie Fitzpatrick (Maggie Gyllenhaal) work together to change things for the better. Although there is fear and doubt at times, these two women fight with teachers, the school board and parents, not just for the education and futures of their children but for every child attending this inner-city school.

Children are being sent to school but they're not learning anything. A dyslexic little girl is struggling and she gets no help at all. It was disappointing to see educators who didn't care about their students. And the first scene - very bothersome.

Nona and Jamie: I liked the characters, and I was rooting for them till the end. Even though what was going on with the school kept my attention, I was more interested in their personal lives - Nona's family situation, Jamie's relationship with her daughter.

A good movie with a message of hope.
Favorite Line (I think I'm remembering it right): It's been a long time since I got jiggy with it, and I wasn't jiggy then.
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