Won't Back Down Movie Reviews

Won't Back Down

Won't Back Down

Release Date: Mar 30, 2012

Genre: Drama

Rating: (PG)

Movie Reviews

User reviews on Won't Back Down

  • 3
    Maggie Gyllenhaal stars in Won’t Back Down, a movie about how poor our schools are and how far some people will go to do the right thing and improve them. The problem was that even with such a great cast and story, the movie didn’t really come around for me. Parts of the film just seemed like a TV-movie but with a better cast. I really like what they were trying to do, shining a light on our poor schooling system, but at the end of the day it just didn’t gel well together. The acting was definitely top notch, but trying to put a story together of something that has some many layers is just not easy. This is a film that people should see but I’m not sure everyone will enjoy it.
  • 3
    This movie reminded me of the Meryl Streep and Gloria Estefan movie from the 90s, Music of the Heart, which was about how a teacher wanted to reform the whole school outfit to make it better for students that need care and attention. We've seen lots of movies like these over the years (including lots of doc**entaries) about how schools fail kids and parents also fail kids by not caring. But then one parent or teacher (or both) stand up to take on the system and everything changes for the better. That's basically the gist of this movie too so you shouldn't be surprised by how it ends or how it plays out. It's a decent movie, but probably not a must see. I think everyone will be watching Hotel Transylvania or Looper this weekend, so this is probably for older audiences or people who like real life stories. I would say wait for the DVD. It's not gonna kill if you don't see it in the theater.
  • 2
    Sometimes I see movies and I wonder how on earth they got made. Then I see movies with Maggie Gyllenhaal and I wonder how she has a career at all. She is a decent actress, hardly bad, but she really overdoes it in this movie. Someone needs to tell her that less is more, especially when it comes to playing a character like this one where she is prone to outbursts. Viola Davis is good, but I'm kind of sick of seeing her always playing a silent suffering type. It would have worked much better if the two leads were playing each other's roles. I would much rather see Viola Davis playing a loud mouth and Maggie playing a silent type. Holly Hunter is good in her part though it's pretty ornamental. The whole theme of bureaucracy ruining the education experience is something that everyone can relate to, though this movie seems to think it should be overly dramatic and loud to get the point across. Two stars for effort.
  • 4
    This one's all about "sisters doing it for themselves!" I loved this movie, even if it does get kind of preachy at times. The thing that really makes it work are the performances, especially Viola Davis as the teacher Nona who goes to great odds to make everything better for her students. It was heartbreaking to see her work in a job that she loves but which she resents because the school makes it impossible for her to reach the students that need the most care and attention. It's people like this who make teachers as special as they are. I also loved the little girl who plays Maggie's daughter - she really captured the whole idea of what it's like to be in a school that doesn't understand your needs. The movie goes to show both sides of the issue which is important when we think about how our education system works or doesn't. It also makes you feel inspired to be a teacher.
  • 3
    This movie was decent, though not as great as I thought it should have been. It reminded me of a lot of other movies I'd seen about "taking on the system" especially The Juror and Erin Brockovich. Maggie Gyllenhaal is kind of too much in her role, she seems to be overacting most of the time and frankly I find it hard to look at her. Sorry to Maggie, she's just not that attractive. She kind of looks like a human version of Miss Piggy to me. Viola Davis should have been the star of the movie, but she gets only the second lead. She's good, though not great, and made me wonder why she agreed to be in this movie. It's not the kind of movie she usually does. She gets kind of wasted in her role sometimes, I think, which they should do with an actress of her calibre. The whole movie kind of felt like a big lecture on what's wrong with the education system. It's informative but not entertaining.
  • 2
    Won’t Back Down is an unfortunate movie: it’s the kind of movie with a good heart and a good message with equally good intentions . . . but which is horribly, terribly handled and ends up being little more than the average movie of the week circa 1992. We have the main character of Jamie Fitzpatrick (Maggie Gyllenhaal) who is a single mom working two jobs too busy to give much attention to her dyslexic grade-school aged daughter. Eventually, things become so intolerable for her child in school that she is compelled to join forces with a teacher named Nona (Viola Davis) to break the school from the clutches of an uncaring and indifferent bureaucracy that puts profits and teacher union rights ahead of children and their education. How noble.

    It is noble. Really. But the movie is played with such “I-Believe-The-Chidlren-Are-Our-Future” cheesy earnestness that you begin to roll your eyes every time Ms. Gyllenhaal happens upon the scene to give yet another soap box speech about mothers and daughters or tell off another smarmy teacher who tries to dismiss her child as “challenged”. Gyllenhaal gives such an over-the-top and loud performance you can’t help but wonder what her aim was: perhaps she thought that if she yelled at the camera enough times she might get an Oscar nod? Meryl Streep was certainly loud and chewed up the scenery in Doubt. The difference is that character was supposed to be a virago. This one is caring mother whose decibels outweigh any real life attempt at negotiating the well-being of a child. Sorry, Maggie, this won’t be your Erin Brockovich.

    Viola Davis is mercifully more restrained and gives a solid, dependable performance. The rest of the cast (which includes Holly Hunter and Rosie Perez) does its best with the material their given, though it doesn’t add up to as much as they would perhaps hope. If only director Daniel Barnz spent more time fleshing out all the characters instead of giving Maggie Gyllenhaal the lion’s share of scream time to roar.
  • 5
    This was such an inspirational movie! I wish more movies from Hollywood were this good: it's touching and heartfelt and has a great message for both kids and parents. It's about a struggling single mother who has a dyslexic daughter who is neglected by her school because the unions are more interested in protecting teachers than meeting the needs of kids. As a parent, I could totally relate to the frustration of having to deal with a school that doesn't take your kids needs seriously. At times, I felt like Maggie Gyllhenhaal's character was me back when my kids were in school! It's great to see a movie like this one that shows women standing up for what's right and not backing down just because that's the way things have always been done. Viola Davis steals the show as the teacher with a heart of gold and Maggie Gyllenhaal is just aces. My only gripe is that Holly Hunter did not get enough screen time. She's my fave.
  • 2
    I did not like this film and I do not think it should be shown in theaters or released nationally. The film is spreading false information and I bet some people out there will believe it. My mother is a teacher and trust me this film has nothing to do with reality and it really angered me. The film is poorly written, the information in it is not accurate and the acting is not good either. The film is basically saying that the only reason that schools in poor communities are failing is because of bad teachers and that is just really annoying and angering. I hope people will not see this film and if they do, I hope they realize that this is pure propaganda and that the filmmakers should be ashamed of themselves.
  • 1
    This film was absolutely horrible and I do not recommend seeing it in the theaters. This was the most manipulative and bogus film I have seen in a long time and the makers of this film should be ashamed of themselves. The film basically blames teachers for pretty much any problem that exists in public schools and that is just wrong and vindictive. The film simplified and over dramatized every aspect of the issue and it was just so annoying. The issues were dumbed down and instead of encouraging creative thinking the film shoved it’s silly ideas into the audience’s head and I am afraid that some people will actually believe the information provided in this film. I used to like Maggie Gyllenhaal and Viola Davis but they lost my respect by being in this shameless film.

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