Won't Back Down : Movie Review

From its well-meaning premise—two mothers, one a teacher, strive to dismount and rebuild an ailing inner city elementary school—right down to its Tom Petty-inspired title, "Won't Back Down" sounds unmistakably routine, a proverbially sappy melodrama that, wouldn't you know it, is inspired by actual events. Cynical viewers who come to see it will likely be expecting nothing more than a glorified, theatrically-released Lifetime movie. With the rare exception of a few moments, mostly snippets of dialogue, that prove to be a little too on the nose for their own good, the film never falls into such traps. In some ways, writer-director Daniel Barnz (2009's "Phoebe in Wonderland"), recouping after 2011's "Beastly" misfire, and co-writer Brin Hill have made a picture as blistering and rightfully critical of today's public education system as Tony Kaye's "Detachment." More surprising is that they've done so while keeping the material wholly relevant and safely within the confines of a PG rating. The gross negligence on view, however, is not for the weak of stomach.

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Author : Dustin Putman