Flash Movie Review: Won’t Back Down
Rarely am I impressed with someone’s job. My motto has always been “someone has to graduate at the top of the class and someone at the bottom of the class.” But when it comes to teachers, I have to admit I am somewhat biased. Both my brothers were teachers; one was a career AP history and sociology high school teacher and the other was an EMH teacher; the letters stood for educable mentally handicapped. I think today the title would be a special needs teacher. From my school years I can absolutely vouch for the effect a teacher can make on a student. For every positive effect there is an equal amount of negative ones. When it came to this movie, I understood what single mother Jamie Fitzpatrick, played by Maggie Gyllenhaal (Hysteria, Crazy Heart), hoped to accomplish. She wanted her daughter to get a decent education from the PIttsburgh school system. With poor conditions and uninterested tenured teachers at the failing, inner city school; Jamie waged a battle against the school system. To achieve change, her tenacity would be met by an unyielding school bureaucracy, fearful teacher’s union and skeptical parents; all determined to protect their own interests. For Jamie to make a solid case, she would first need to win over teacher Nona Alberts, played by Viola Davis (The Help, Doubt). This film was a mess; it received a failing grade from me. Though Viola gave it her best it was not enough, the script was ridiculous; filled with cliches, manipulation and catch phrases. I found Maggie one dimensional and felt her relationship made no sense with teacher Michael Perry, played by Oscar Isaac (Drive, Body of Lies). The story did not know what it wanted; going with an anti union message, then back tracking on it. What could have been a powerful movie was instead slow and uninteresting. Give this film a detention for being boring.
1 2/3 stars