Here''s a recipe for a good movie. First, add four Oscar nominated actresses: Viola Davis (winner), Maggie Gyllenhaal, Rosie Perez and Holly Hunter. Sprinkle with a few strong men. (Ving Rhames, Oscar Isaac, Lance Reddick). Put a good script in their hands. Toss a camera in front of them and wait for them sizzle. The result is "Won’t Back Down."
I went to see “Won’t Back Down” on Thursday night and I loved everything about this movie except the title. It’s Norma Rae meets Erin Brockovich fighting a bureaucratic school system. Nona Alberts (Viola Davis) is a school teacher, mother and wife in a failing marriage. While seeking help for her son, who has a learning disability, she encounters a single mother (Maggie Gyllenhaal) who is deeply frustrated by the lack of education available for her dyslexic daughter. These two women team up and together this parent/ teacher duo begins a seemingly impossible journey to take over a school in Pittsburgh, PA.
A story based on actual events, "Won’t Back Down" had me sitting in my seat rooting, crossing my fingers, laughing and yes, crying (Voila will break you down). All of the actors were wonderful, especially the kids. Nothing is forced here, not even the wardrobe. This film chimes of truth and the daily concerns of many Americans when it comes to education and job security.
Rosie Perez is part of the secret sauce in this film. Absent from the posters and many of the trailers, Perez's presence is palpable as she delivers a powerful performance as a school teacher.
That said, I recommend this movie for every principal, parent, teacher, child, aunt and uncle. Take the whole family, please. We need more films like this.
"Won’t Back Down" opens September 28th in theaters everywhere.