Won't Back Down
Won't Back Down (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… More

Directed By:
Rated: PG
Running Time:
Genre: Drama
Release Date: September 28, 2012
DVD Release Date: January 15, 2013
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Critic Score: 33% Rotten Tomatoes™ Critic Reviews

Consensus: Despite the best efforts of its talented leads, Won't Back Down fails to lend sufficient dramatic heft or sophistication to the hot-button issue of education reform.

Bilge Ebiri
New York Magazine/Vulture

It mixes attempts at realism and grit with transparently Hollywoodized good guys-vs.-bad guys social melodrama. That requires a deft directorial hand, but director Daniel Barnz doesn't seem to have it.

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Connie Ogle
Miami Herald

Americans desperately need to have some difficult conversations about the state of public education, but Won't Back Down goes about the task too awkwardly to be helpful or interesting.

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Angie Errigo
Metro (UK)

It's all way too much and perhaps the most troubling aspect is that it casts the teachers' union as the villain.

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Peter Rainer
Christian Science Monitor

Social-issue movies can have real societal impact. That's why Won't Back Down, which presses a lot of hot buttons, deserves to be taken seriously, and criticized seriously, on its own terms.

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Mick LaSalle
San Francisco Chronicle

"Won't Back Down" details a bureaucratic process, and yet it plays more like an intense, emotional movie about parents and children.

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Anna Bean
Bust Magazine

This film is worth a watch -- and a debate afterwards.

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Bruce Demara
Toronto Star

Won't Back Down doesn't wholly make the grade.

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Joe Williams
St. Louis Post-Dispatch

While the cast is filled with award winners, writer-director Daniel Barnz is a dunce who can't construct an argument without employing flimsy logic and cardboard characters.

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J. Olson

"Won't Back Down" packs a punch and it deserves to be seen, no matter one's political persuasion.

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More reviews for Won't Back Down

Flixster Audience Score: 61% Flixster User Reviews
Cynthia S.
3 3/4's--Very inspirational, and heartwarming. Made-for-tvish. A sad statement on the condition of the American education system, but depicts a good step… More
Joshua Sheetz
Won't Back Down is a prime example of a movie that suffers from a weak script and average direction, but is saved by excellent and noteworthy performances.… More
Daniel Perry
It's a film with a big heart, but it's just so schlocky... Maggie Gyllenhaal plays essentially the same role she did in Crazy Heart, and the… More
Philip Price
I somewhat expected to be let down by the Viola Davis/Maggie Gyllenhaal vehicle that seemed to be purely inspirational for the purposes of honorable… More
Everett Johnson
"Won't Back Down" is a movie about two mothers(Maggie Gyllenhaal and Viola Davis) who are fed up with their children's failing school. They… More