Won't Back Down

Feisty bartender Jamie Fitzpatrick (Maggie Gyllenhaal) is fed up with the inner-city elementary school that is failing her dyslexic daughter. So she enlists an equally nonplussed teacher, Nona Alberts (Viola Davis), to help her take back the hellhole institution and remake it into a scholarly paradise. Loosely inspired by California’s recent parent-trigger law cases, this shockingly confused feature chugs along for a while as a reasonably diverting pseudo-inspirational melodrama (Davis even gets to do another of her trademark dripping-snot takes). But the film slowly reveals its true colors, pointing a fanatically accusatory finger at teachers’ unions while using twisted Obama-esque sloganeering about “order” and “hope” to further its simplistically anticollectivist agenda.

Follow Keith Uhlich on Twitter: @keithuhlich

Release details

Rated: PG
Release date: Friday September 28 2012
Duration: 121 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Daniel Barnz
Cast: Holly Hunter
Viola Davis
Oscar Isaac
Maggie Gyllenhaal