Won't Back Down

  • PG
  • Daniel Barnz (2012)
  • US
  • 120 min
Film Review
Reviewed By
3 out of 5

This cheesily heart-warming tale of American parent power stars Maggie Gyllenhaal and Viola Davis as chalk-and-cheese mums who team up to take on the entrenched and toxic bureaucracy at their kids' failing inner-city elementary school. Their plan: to assume control of the establishment, give it a revamp, then run it themselves along more enlightened lines. The film is a little heavy-handed, more than a little corny and a touch too long, not to mention being rooted in an education system that is very different to ours this side of the pond. But it has its heart in the right place and is passionately acted, while the themes explored are universal enough to make this worth the watch.

Plot Summary

The mother of a dyslexic child is unable to get her daughter transferred out of her failing inner-city school, so instead resolves to improve its standards. She finds an ally in a teacher, and together they take on bureaucracy and the apathy of their fellow parents to give their children a better education. Fact-based drama, with Maggie Gyllenhaal, Viola Davis and Holly Hunter.

Cast and crew


Jamie Fitzpatrick
Maggie Gyllenhaal
Nona Alberts
Viola Davis
Michael Perry
Oscar Isaac
Evelyn Riske
Holly Hunter
Breena Harper
Rosie Perez
Malia Fitzpatrick
Emily Alyn Lind
Cody Alberts
Dante Brown
Charles Alberts
Lance Reddick
Principal Thompson
Ving Rhames
Principal Holland
Bill Nunn


Daniel Barnz

Other Information

Theatrical distributor: 
Walt Disney
Some swearing.
Released 25 Jan 2013