Film review: Won't Back Down (PG)
The US education system comes under fire in this earnest and manipulative drama that pits the ordinary guy – or rather gals – against the bosses, in this case the unions. Maggie Gyllenhaal plays hard-pressed single mum Jamie, who wants to spring her dyslexic daughter from the classroom of an incompetent time-server.
Having failed to clinch her a place at the local charter school – a heartbreaking public lottery – Jamie then asks decent, hard-working teacher Nona (Viola Davis) to help transform their failing inner-city school. A long slog of doorstepping, leafleting and rallying lies ahead, in the course of which you may want to fling a piece of chalk or two at the screen.
Everything about it feels formulaic and perfunctory, including our crusaders' personal lives – Jamie falls for a guitar-playing hunk (Oscar Isaac), Nona falls out with her husband (Lance Reddick) – while a piety-throwing contest flares up between the union firebrands and the parents who want to save their kids from a broken system.
Davis is tremendous as the teacher at the end of her tether, but she's wasted good acting on this.
Arsenal 1 Everton 1: Substitute equalises with six minutes to go
food + drinkMichelin-starred Tom Sellers on being this year's hottest property
booksGeese, gorillas, grandads... and growing up
tvParents (and kids) rejoice! A new wave of fantastic family entertainment is here
food + drinkHow one grocery e-tailer is gearing up for the Yuletide rush
food + drink
Arts & Ents blogs
The 50 Best Christmas songs: Bells continue to ring for the Pogues' 'Fairytale of New York'
Sherlock series 3: Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman provide teasers for the biggest comeback in British television
Back in Black (Sabbath): On the comeback trail with Ozzy Osbourne and crew
The man who made Femen: New film outs Victor Svyatski as the mastermind behind the protest group and its breast-baring stunts
Back from the dead? Family Guy's Brian Griffin 'to make a comeback' after fan petition
- 1 Hundreds arrested as Canadian police smash worldwide paedophile ring
- 2 Sherlock series 3: Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman provide teasers for the biggest comeback in British television
- 3 The man who made Femen: New film outs Victor Svyatski as the mastermind behind the protest group and its breast-baring stunts
- 4 Mass murder in the Middle East is funded by our friends the Saudis
- 5 Japan cracks down on leaks after scandal of Fukushima nuclear power plant
- < Previous
- Next >