Won’t Back Down

by Ken Tasho

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Tuesday January 22, 2013

Naming a film after a popular Tom Petty song probably seemed inspirational on paper. But the teacher/student drama "Won't Back Down" will only be remembered as a nice showcase for the acting talents of Maggie Gyllenhaal.

With an opening blurb stating the film was inspired by actual events, "Won't Back Down" shows perky and determined Gyllenhaal as a single mother concerned that her dyslexic daughter isn't getting the attention or education she deserves at her elementary school. She befriends teacher Viola Davis and together, the two take on the education system, getting signed petitions from parents and teachers to start a new non-unionized school. Rosie Perez and Holly Hunter have small, thankless roles as friend and foe, respectively.

If "Won't Back Down" weren't so preachy and self-serving, it would end up a moving drama. At times, you may feel as though you're watching a public service announcement on the troubles with the education system in America. With a running time of two hours, the film could've also used a much needed trim.

Special features don't have any behind-the-scenes on the making on the film. Rather, keeping in tune with the moralizing theme of the movie, "A Tribute to Teachers" and "The Importance of Education" showcase interviews with real teachers and the trials and tribulations they face. Deleted scenes feature an optional commentary by director Daniel Barnz, and he does an audio commentary for the film as well.

"Won't Back Down"

Ken Tasho is a Corporate Drone by day and Edge Contributor by night. He has a love for all things '80's and resides in the Wayland Square area of Providence, RI...but would much rather be sharing an apartment in NYC with '80's rock goddesses Pat Benatar and Deborah Harry.