Won't Back Down
1 1/2 Stars
Bored and visibly sneering as she fiddles with her cellphone while sitting at her desk, the grade school teacher barely takes notice of the sweet young girl challenged by learning disabilities. The student stands nervously before the blackboard, struggling to read a sentence aloud. The other students mock her, cruelly. The teacher tacitly encourages the mockery. She is union-protected mediocrity incarnate, and she may as well be shown tying the student to a railroad track, Snidely Whiplash-style.
This is the first image of the first educator we see on screen in "Won't Back Down." So you know exactly where the movie stands straight off. Set in
It's an interesting time to encounter such a film, especially in
Valiantly making do on two jobs (selling cars and tending bar) earning her
Some scenes in "Won't Back Down" will be painfully familiar to any parent who's endured the bizarre practice of the bingo-type lottery, with a roomful of desperate citizens vying for a precious handful of open slots at a desired school. Early in the movie, Jamie and her daughter compete, unsuccessfully, in one such lottery at a bright shining neighborhood charter organization, blessedly free from the shackles of union contracts and fat, un-American pensions. (
"Won't Back Down" isn't a badly made film. Director and co-writer Daniel Barnz knows how to move a camera around and block out traffic patterns, as in the introduction of Jamie, bustling through her hurry-up morning routine in a single unbroken take. Davis, in particular, manages to create a fully dimensional character in the midst of a highly polemical screenplay. The supporting cast includes
The film pays occasional lip service to those who, like Jamie's love interest (
Right, left or center, once a movie has sunk to that sort of hyperbolic implication, not even
"Won't Back Down" Movie Trailer
MPAA rating: PG (for thematic elements and language).
Running time: 2:01.
Credits: Directed by Daniel Barnz; written by Barnz and Brin Hill; produced by
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