I had the pleasure of attending an advanced screening of Won’t Back Down. Haven’t heard of it? I’m not surprised. I’ve only seen the trailer once or twice, and the movie opens September 28, 2012.
Maggie Gyllenhaal and Viola Davis play two determined mothers, one a teacher, who will stop at nothing 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.
I went into this movie not only a viewer, but also a parent. The story it’s self is very moving. Yet, I watched without ever really feeling moved. That is not to say this is a bad movie, in fact I really did enjoy most of it. Maggie Gyllenhaal, Viola Davis, and Holly Hunter shine, with the help of some pretty talented supporting actors. Yet, my disappointment came just as I felt fully vested in the storyline and ready to see these women kick butt, where some butts obviously needed to be kicked, the movie felt as though it was hijacked by an anti-union ad. I don’t doubt these to be real issues in far too many schools, but, this is after all “a movie”. While putting a lot of focus on what is wrong within the teachers union, and painting them as cold and uncaring, the movie felt pretty one sided. And somewhat uncomfortable. That is where it started to lose me. If it would have kept more of it’s focus on the characters, their struggle, and the positive out come, I would have enjoyed this movie a whole lot more. That being said, the movie is still well worth seeing, and will keep most of it’s audience thinking long after leaving the theater. That to me is a job well done.
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