Won’t Back Down (2012)
Running Time: 121 minutes
Directed by: Daniel Barnz
Starring: Viola Davis, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Holly Hunter, Oscar Isaac
Inspired by real life events, the film follows a hardworking mother with a dyslexic child who is failing in an inner city school in Pittsburgh. Determined to change the system, Jamie Fitzpatrick (Gyllenhaal) convinces Nona Alberts (Davis), a teacher in the school where Jamie’s daughter attends to join forces and take back the school to turn it into a place of learning. However, in order to do that, they must first convince the other parents, teachers, and finally the school board that this is a good decision.
I thought the movie was inspiring and reminds me of the likes of The Freedom Writers and Dead Poets Society where it focuses on how difficult it is to make or be the change when everyone else have already get so used to the system. I thought the storyline was constructed well, the movie didn’t feel slow, but was paced just right to keep the audiences’ attention moving alongside the story’s ups and downs without missing out on the details. The characters that were created I thought complemented each other well, and definitely showed the contrast of teachers who are new to the system, teachers who have been in the system too long, teachers who don’t really care, and teachers who wants to play it safe. The main cast, especially Viola Davis delivered a brilliant performance as the determined, hardworking, and somewhat conflicted character. It wasn’t hard to feel the emotions and the hardships the characters were going through thanks to the cast. The children in the film did wonderfully alongside the adult actors, and especially Emily Alyn Lind who played Gyllenhaal’s daughter in the film. Last but not least, I thought the soundtrack and score for the movie helped drive the emotions and intensity of the scenes.
Overall, I think this was a movie that is touching, inspiring and definitely heartwarming. Definitely recommend it to those who are thinking of being teachers or are teachers or in the education system, or just looking for inspiring films.
Rating: 8.5 out of 10