Won’t Back Down

Jamie Fitzpatrick (Maggie Gyllenhaal), is a poor working class mother, struggling to make ends meet, all the while trying to get her daughter the best education possible. Nona Alberts (Viola Davis) is a primary school teacher at Adams Elementary where Jamie’s daughter attends school. Both are entrenched in the bureaucratic disaster known as the public school system and looking for an alternative. When an option to transform Adams into a more effective institution comes about, doubts are cast aside and the heavy lifting begins, but will the women have the time, and energy to make a difference? Inspired by actual events, the film takes a hard core, slanted, anti-union and ill-informed view of the education system of America. Inspiring in one sense, and great acting from the ensemble, but so impossibly stilted in its story, it actually serves as an example of exactly what labor unions in America are striving to get away from– out of date groupthink thugishness. If in fact this is how the teachers union of Pittsburgh actually thinks and acts, shame on them, I would suspect this is not the case. Ironically the film was cast with SAG-AFTRA actors and I’m going out on a limb here, but, I’d fathom a guess the Teamsters, IBEW, IATSE, and a few other unions all had a part in making this mess. And, all of this in the face of the national coverage over the necessity of union sports referees…. Go figure…this one gets an A for acting, but an F for story. Won’t Back Down is rated PG.