OK for kids 9+
Inspiring tale of a mom's quest to better her kid's school.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Won't Back Down, which is based on actual events, follows a mother's journey to turn her daughter's failing elementary school around. There's some insulting language ("idiot," "retard," as well as "ass") and bullying -- a teacher does nothing as a student rips another student's backpack, and the same teacher purposely keeps a kid from leaving class to use the bathroom. Jamie, the protagonist mom, wears tight clothes and flirts with pretty much everyone -- culminating in a romantic relationship with a teacher at her child's school. Adults drink at a bar and restaurant, but there's no drunkenness. Parents and kids will be reminded of the difference that just one or two people can make in a community.
- Families can talk about whether movies based on true stories should follow them closely, or if it's OK for the films to change some facts in the interest of the storyline. Does this movie make you want to learn more about what really happened?
- Some critics have said Won't Back Down is too one-sided when it comes to the teachers' union. Do you think the movie is meant as a political commentary or just a story about a parent and teacher's triumph?
- Although this is a movie about education, the emphasis is less on teacher-student relationships and more on parent-teacher relationships. How is Jamie an unlikely crusader for education? Do you think the fact she's not so educated herself makes her mission even more sympathetic?
The good stuff
Messages: Plenty of positive messages in this feel-good drama, particularly that all it takes is one or two people to galvanize a community and enact change. Jamie and Nona have nothing in common when the movie starts, but against all odds they join together to help create a better school, even though that means exposing themselves to gossip and ridicule. Pro-union families should know that the depiction of the teachers' union is negative, even though a teacher explains all the good the union does as well.
Role models: Jamie will stop at nothing to help secure a better education for her daughter. Even though she isn't that educated herself, she has a fiery spirit and refuses to back down even in the face of overwhelming bureaucracy. Nona joins Jamie's mission and in the process becomes a better teacher.
What to watch for
Violence: Not necessarily violent, but very upsetting: A teacher purposely keeps a student from going to the bathroom, so she has an accident in front of the class.
Sex: Jamie dresses suggestively (tight jeans, midriff-baring tops) and basically seduces a teacher who becomes her boyfriend. There's kissing, and it's clear he spends the night at her house, but there aren't any love scenes.
Language: Insulting language such as "stupid," "idiot," "retard," "slow," "sucks," "dumb," "uneducated." One or two uses of "ass" and "Jesus" (as an exclamation).
Consumerism: Malia has a Le Sportsac backpack that her mother says cost a fortune, and Jamie buys Dunkin Donuts coffee.
Drinking, drugs and smoking: Adults drink several times at a bar. A mother relates a harrowing tale about what happened when she drove under the influence when her child was a baby.
Fan Reviews provided by
Won't Back Down by wgm
is definetly academy award material. Excellent casting, excellent directiing and a plot that hits home for a lot of people. Inspiring and dramatic, it left me in tears. Nominate Maggie Gyllenhaal for Best Actress, nominate Viola Davis for Best Supporting Actress, and the movie for Best Picture. This is a must see but don't take word for it, see it for youselves.
Won't Back Down by sherrij421
All parents, teacher and those without children should go and see this heart felt movie. Two parents and a teacher to reach out and fix something that is so wrong and they want to make it right for the children. We all need to do this, have faith, trust and HOPE to make thing work for all of us.
To: "I love me some propaganda" by srp123
If you look at the history of public schools prior to charter schools, you will find a failed institution. Be grateful for the innovation of Charter Schools - some have proven success and are in the top 10 schools in the nation. The movie was excellent!
won't back down by kirbyl
I loved this movie because it was very truthful and inspiring. Great field trip movie for elementary kids and teachers. I hope this movie inspires both teachers and children.
Won't Back Down by Great White Shark
A very good movie. Living in California, a State with a powerful teachers union, and some of the worst test scores in the nation, I could relate to the story line. I could feel the frustration, but could cheer these woman who took on a failing system. The audience clapped at the end and everyone seemed to have great attitudes as they left the theater. Unions had a real purpose and served their members well. Now the greedy Unions are bankrupting States, Counties and Cities, and it seems like there is no recourse on poor performance. People are getting fed up. Unfortunately, the members of these Unions could end up suffering for the greed and inept leadership of their Unions when they get pennies on the dollar instead of the retirement they were counting on.
Wot Back Down by TNT7
This was a great movie. It showed that how some school districts actually work when they have bad teachers & they just keep them around & just get used to the idea that the children aren't going to learn anything. It also shows what someone can do if they are commited. There was no bad language in it.
Inspiring by punamk
It can be seen two ways. One - against the unions, or two - for children. The basic message is fight for childrens future. It's also a good movie that made me reflect on why I do the work I do. A teacher, doctor, accountant, anyone... do you do the work you do for the money or for your passion?
Feel good movie by welitlpigs
Great movie to watch when you need a lift (and frankly, can't we all?). Story line: A frustrated mother and teacher of a failing school band together to try and make changes for the better, all the while fighting the bureaucracy of the public school system's status quo. Decent drama and acting. May not be an Academy Award movie but definitely worth seeing.
Won't Back Down by wcm71
Saw this movie last night....it was great! Shows what is WRONG with our school system. Most of the time, it isn't the teachers, it is the system that is the problem, or just a hand ful of teachers. It's based on a true story, and Viola Davis and Maggie Gyllenhart both give Oscar worthy performances Makes you cry when you see just how bad it is in most schools across the US.....this is a must see. Also, love the little girl...she reminds me of a yound Drew Barrymore!
good! by friday996
I did like the film, it's very interesting because it touches the very reason why some school are failing, and also shows how dificcult it is to get parents and teachers involved to try and change the culture of our school system.