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.
By opportunistic local hoping to exhibit the work
Fans will be hoping the role finally wins him an Oscar
What do gigantic horse heads tell us about Falkirk?
Finnish Postal Service praises the 'self irony and humour' of the drawings
The actor has confessed to his own insecurities
Allotments are the focus of a new reality show
Arts & Ents blogs
Big Bang Theory to get special Star Wars episode with help from Lucasfilm
The best movies on Netflix: 32 films that will end your endless scrolling
Game of Thrones season 4 episode 2 breaks torrent record as fans watch online
The original Breaking Bad ending saw every character die
Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail. If you think it's awful, then just don't watch it'
The food poverty scandal that shames Britain: Nearly 1m people rely on handouts to eat – and benefit reforms may be to blame
US Navy christens huge $3 billion destroyer ship USS Zumwalt that appears as a fishing boat on enemy radar
Scottish independence: It is the English who should be on their knees, begging the Scots to vote ‘No’
Nigel Farage fatigue? Half of voters ‘immune’ to Ukip’s appeal
Nigel Farage on Have I Got News For You: Ukip leader ridiculed over expenses and party 'fruitcakes'
Nigel Farage: I’m taking on the status quo, and the Establishment’s fighting back
- 1 Poveglia: 'World's most haunted island' up for auction...is anyone brave enough to buy it?
- 2 Big Bang Theory to get special Star Wars episode with help from Lucasfilm
- 3 Babies cry at night to stop mothers procreating, scientists claim
- 4 Pharrell Williams 'Happy': British Muslims dance to song in video
- 5 24 people applied for the 'world's toughest job', here are their interviews