6.4/10
5,051
37 user 101 critic

Won't Back Down (2012)

Trailer
2:32 | Trailer

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Amazon Video

ON DISC
Two determined mothers­, one a teacher, look to transform their children's 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.

Director:

1 win & 3 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.6/10 X  

A man recruits his cousin to find out who is behind his dog's suspicious death.

Director: Chadd Harbold
Stars: Brian Petsos, Kristen Wiig, Elijah Wood
In Secret (2013)
Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

Set in the lower echelons of 1860s Paris, Therese Raquin, a sexually repressed beautiful young woman, is trapped into a loveless marriage to her sickly cousin, Camille, by her domineering ... See full summary »

Director: Charlie Stratton
Stars: Elizabeth Olsen, Tom Felton, Jessica Lange
Ticky Tacky (2014)
Short | Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A wealthy and powerful man is betrayed by those closest to him, and under the guidance of his trusted confidant, devises a fiery requital.

Director: Brian Petsos
Stars: Oscar Isaac, Tim Rock, Erika Rankin
10 Years (2011)
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

The night before their high school reunion, a group of friends realize they still haven't quite grown up in some ways.

Director: Jamie Linden
Stars: Channing Tatum, Rosario Dawson, Chris Pratt
Romance | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

A thriller centered on a con artist, his wife, and a stranger who flee Athens after one of them is caught up in the death of a private detective.

Director: Hossein Amini
Stars: Viggo Mortensen, Kirsten Dunst, Oscar Isaac
W.E. (2011)
Drama | History | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

The affair between King Edward VIII and American divorcée Wallis Simpson, and a contemporary romance between a married woman and a Russian security guard.

Director: Madonna
Stars: Abbie Cornish, James D'Arcy, Andrea Riseborough
Hysteria (2011)
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

The truth of how Mortimer Granville devised the invention of the first vibrator in the name of medical science.

Director: Tanya Wexler
Stars: Maggie Gyllenhaal, Hugh Dancy, Jonathan Pryce
Sherrybaby (2006)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Sherry tries to integrate again into society and become a good mother.

Director: Laurie Collyer
Stars: Maggie Gyllenhaal, Ryan Simpkins, Sam Bottoms
Balibo (2009)
Drama | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

War correspondent Roger East and the young Jose Ramos-Horta travel to East Timor to investigate the murders of the Balibo Five in 1975.

Director: Robert Connolly
Stars: Jane Hampson, Bea Viegas, Christine Martins
Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

From his humble beginnings in his hometown of Sheffield, England, Steve Peat has established himself as one of the worlds most iconic cyclists. Peaty has been competing at the top level in ... See full summary »

Directors: John Lawlor, Clay Porter
Stars: Gee Atherton, Josh Bryceland, Sam Hill
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

A grieving widower is drawn into a custody battle over his granddaughter, whom he helped raise her entire life.

Director: Mike Binder
Stars: Kevin Costner, Octavia Spencer, Gillian Jacobs
Trentemøller: Gravity (Video 2014)
Short | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Danish electronic master Anders Trentemøller takes himself out of the driver's seat in the new video for his Lost's "Gravity," choosing instead to put the focus on a man (Oscar Isaac) learning about life via the carpool lane.

Directors: Elvira Lind, Tue Walin Storm
Stars: Oscar Isaac, Firas Al Khazaali, Michael Q. Schmidt
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
Evelyn Riske
...
Breena Harper
...
...
Cody Alberts
...
Charles Alberts
...
Principal Thompson
...
Principal Holland
...
Arthur Gould
...
Olivia Lopez
...
Yvonne
Nancy Bach ...
Deborah
...
Ben
Edit

Storyline

Two determined mothers with children who are failing in an inner city school in Pittsburgh join forces to take back the school, and turn it into a place of learning. But before they can change the school for the better, they must first battle the parents, the school board, and the teachers union. Because this is for their children, they won't back down from this enormous challenge. Written by Douglas Young (the-movie-guy)

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

If you can't beat the system... change it

Genres:

Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for thematic elements and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Official Sites:

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

28 September 2012 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Learning to Fly  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$2,603,370 (USA) (28 September 2012)

Gross:

$5,308,553 (USA) (16 November 2012)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

| |

Color:

(ACES)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The film cast includes one Oscar winner: Holly Hunter; and four Oscar nominees: Viola Davis, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Rosie Perez. See more »

Quotes

Jamie Fitzpatrick: I've just never been able to talk smart people into doing things before.
See more »

Connections

References Dawn of the Dead (1978) See more »

Soundtracks

More Choice
Written and Performed by Jimmy Kaleth (as James Kaleth), Robert Mitchell and Jez Pike
Courtesy of 5 Alarm Music
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Two Fine Actresses Lend Heart to a Jargon-Heavy Drama About Charter Schools and Parent Trigger Laws
3 March 2013 | by (San Francisco, CA, USA) – See all my reviews

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 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. This motivates Jamie to partner with Nona, a teacher at Malia's school, who has similar frustrations from an insider's perspective but has been stymied time and again by the system. The movie then takes us on their journey running through all the bureaucratic red tape that you would expect from an inspirationally- minded drama.

I give credit to Barnz and Hill for at least presenting a compelling argument against the cause by showing how the teachers' union would suffer major setbacks along the way. As Jamie, Gyllenhaal does her best work since her compelling turn as the struggling drug addict-mother in 2006's "Sherrybaby". She brings loose-limbed passion to her character's relentless drive toward realizing a charter school for her daughter. At first, Davis appears underserved by the script, but this actress has no problem conveying the gravitas and compassion needed to make Nona's evolution feel realistic. As Evelyn, the president of the teachers' union, Holly Hunter ("Broadcast News") - who would have likely played Jamie a couple of decades ago – brings palpable conviction to her character's increasing moral conflict. It's good to see Rosie Perez ("Fearless") again on screen as Nona's sympathetic fellow teacher. Other supporting turns amount to stereotypes as dictated by the script. The subject of the film is quite worthwhile, but the treatment needed far more texture.


2 of 2 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Anti-union movie made by people in unions Chaos-Films
Parent Trigger laws: the other side ltux
Based on True Events? jeopardy23
5 Myths about Public Schools Margie24
She wasn't that great of a mom carolynhagspiel
New Title SharynKmieciak
Discuss Won't Back Down (2012) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?