I was excited to be invited by Circle of Moms in partnership with Fox Studios and Popsugar to be one of forty Mom bloggers from across the country to see a special screening of Won’t Back Down. I was moved to tears just by seeing the movie’s trailer! I had to laugh at myself. I mean, who does that? I made sure I packed plenty of tissues when I went to the screening.
Won’t Back Down features a talented cast including Maggie Gyllenhaal, who portrays Jamie Fitzpatrick a loving and determined single mother and Viola Davis who plays Nona, a passionate mother and teacher. Holly Hunter is featured as a higher up in the teacher’s union who has lost perspective about the school system. At the start of the movie, we were introduced to a failing school where a teacher played with her cell phone while chaos and bullying ran rampant in her classroom. Emily Alyn Lind portrayed Jamie’s daughter Malia. My heart went out to Malia as she struggled to read while students openly made fun of her.
After Jamie saw the condition of the school on her visits, she was motivated to get her daughter out. When all her options to change schools fell through, she became determined to transform the failing school in her neighborhood via the fail safe law which allows parents and teachers to take over failing schools. She enlisted the help of Nona (Davis) one of the teachers who made the difficult decision to help lead the movement to take over the school. Nona’s choice was unpopular with her colleagues who were also her friends and it was heart wrenching to see her ostracized from her friends who were previously a source of emotional support.
The unstoppable pair took on the bureaucracy with determination born from the heart. It was touching to see them turn a neighborhood of disconnected families into a community with a purpose. Teachers who had been a little hardened along the way from working in a bad situation reawakened with a renewed focus on the children. My tears flowed as they put their fears around job security aside and did what they thought was best for the students. My parents were both teachers and often used their own money to buy much needed supplies for their classrooms. Teachers are driven by their love of learning and their desire to help students while parents are driven by the desire for their children to have a good education. When the two teams united against a tired bureaucracy in a passionate fight, I wanted to stand up and cheer.
I recommend that you go and experience this powerful movie. Pack your tissues. You are going to need them. It is a wonderful reminder that with passion, determination and focus we can all make a difference. You may be inspired to take risks in your own life. You will walk out feeling better than when you walked in.Disclosure:
I did not pay to see the screening of the movie and was compensated for my time. All opinions expressed in the review are my genuine thoughts on the film.
Official Trailer for Won't Back Down.
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