Film Review: ‘Won’t Back Down’ is an Agenda Disguised as a Film

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly versionE-mail page to friendE-mail page to friendPDF versionPDF version
No votes yet

CHICAGO – There is an interesting trend in the financing of films, actual partisan organizations are fostering their points-of-view through the movies. This is nothing new in documentaries, but now it appears in a fictional film called “Won’t Back Down,” featuring Maggie Gyllenhaal and Viola Davis.

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 2.0/5.0
Rating: 2.0/5.0

Walden Media partially funded the film, and they are part of the Anschutz Film Group, owned by a conservative activist named Phillip Anschutz. His goal is public school reform, and in doing so also is taking on the teacher’s unions, who are blamed in part for the poor performance of the fictional Pittsburgh school in the film. Cranky Phil might have started with a decent or even plausible script, because everything presented in “Won’t Back Down” severely tests reality. If Anschutz wants the audience on his side, make a better movie.

Jamie Fitzpatrick (Maggie Gyllenhaal) is a lower income, single mother trapped in a Pittsburgh school district that won’t give her dyslexic daughter (Emily Alyn Lind) a decent education. In the mother’s desperation to help her progeny, she turns to another teacher named Nona Alberts (Viola Davis) who has family issues of her own, and pleads with her to take advantage of a Pennsylvania law that allows a parental takeover of a failing school.

Despite two jobs, the plucky single mother knocks on doors and rallies teachers, including Ms. Harper (Rosie Perez) and hunky Mr. Perry (Oscar Isaac). In the midst of trying to convince a school district to make change, the teacher’s union rallies against Jamie and Nona, publishing propaganda and worrying insiders like Evelyn Riske (Holly Hunter). Bureaucracy has nothing against a determined single mother, so this failing school may stand a chance to redeem itself.

“Won’t Back Down” opens everywhere September 28th. Featuring Maggie Gyllenhaal, Viola Davis, Holly Hunter, Ving Rhames, Emily Alyn Lind, Rosie Perez, Oscar Isaac and Nancy Bach. Screenplay by Brin Hill and Daniel Bartz. Directed by Daniel Bartz. Rated “PG

StarContinue reading for Patrick McDonald’s full review of “Won’t Back Down”

Maggie Gyllenhaal, Rosie Perez, Viola Davis
Jamie (Maggie Gyllenhaal), Ms. Harper (Rosie Perez) and Nona (Viola Davis) in ‘Won’t Back Down’
Photo credit: Kelly Hayes for Walden Media

StarContinue reading for Patrick McDonald’s full review of “Won’t Back Down”

User Login

Free Giveaway Mailing

TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • South Side

    CHICAGO – One the brightest comedies set in Chicago is “South Side,” created by Bashir Salahuddin and Diallo Riddle. The pair moved the show from Comedy Central to HBO Max, and Season Two dropped for streaming on November 11th, 2021, with the same free-wheeling and hilarious misadventures of Simon and Kareme.

  • Colin in Black & White

    CHICAGO – Patrick McDonald of HollywoodChicago.com appears on “The Morning Mess” with Dan Baker on WBGR-FM (Monroe, Wisconsin) on November 4th, 2021, reviewing the new miniseries “Colin in Black & White” – regarding the early years of ex-NFL QB Colin Kaepernick – currently streaming on Netflix.

Advertisement



HollywoodChicago.com on Twitter

archive

HollywoodChicago.com Top Ten Discussions
tracker