Mixed or average reviews - based on 34 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 8 out of 34
  2. Negative: 8 out of 34
  1. Reviewed by: Connie Ogle
    Sep 28, 2012
    Nothing wrong with a movie having a point of view, but watching people spout jargon or exposition doesn't really make for riveting entertainment.
  2. Reviewed by: Michael Phillips
    Sep 27, 2012
    Davis, in particular, manages to create a fully dimensional character in the midst of a highly polemical screenplay.
  3. Reviewed by: Ella Taylor
    Sep 28, 2012
    For all its strenuous feints at fair play, though, Won't Back Down is something less honorable - a propaganda piece with blame on its mind.
  4. Reviewed by: A.O. Scott
    Sep 27, 2012
    However you take its politics, the film upholds a dreary tradition of simplifying and sentimentalizing matters of serious social concern, and dumbing down issues that call for clarity and creative thinking. Our children deserve better.
  5. Reviewed by: Marjorie Baumgarten
    Sep 26, 2012
    The rescuing of our public schools is a national necessity. I just don't know that we are aiding that cause by sending out oversimplified and dogmatic messages about not backing down.
  6. Reviewed by: Ann Hornaday
    Sep 28, 2012
    So didactic that viewers are likely to feel less uplifted than lectured.
  7. Reviewed by: Keith Uhlich
    Sep 30, 2012
    The film slowly reveals its true colors, pointing a fanatically accusatory finger at teachers' unions while using twisted Obama-esque sloganeering about "order" and "hope" to further its simplistically anticollectivist agenda.
  8. Reviewed by: Kenneth Turan
    Sep 27, 2012
    This poor film is so shamelessly manipulative and hopelessly bogus it will make you bite your tongue in regret and despair.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 14 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 2 out of 6
  2. Negative: 1 out of 6
  1. Oct 1, 2012
  2. Sep 28, 2012
    To Wont Back Down Critics: I am an Urban parent, so the question on the table: "Are parents suppose to sit back and continue to allow education systems to continue to fail to effectively educate and keep safe millions of children because the defenders of "failure as an option" are not ready to embrace change in how we deliver education to children? The Bottom line: if parents don't protect their children who will? FYI the fictional parent Maggie was the actual "trigger" not some law! She saw a problem in the school and it "triggered" her into action! Don Full Review »
  3. Nov 13, 2014
    "Won't Back Down" 10 Scale Rating: 5.0 (Mediocre) ...

    The Good: A hot topic that deserves attention and certainly is a good idea for a
    film. Viola Davis was great, which is starting be expected from her in every performance. There are some very good dramatic scenes in the film. It could have used more, but the few that it did have were well done.

    The Bad: Maggie Gyllenhaal almost single-handedly ruined the film. Her character was supposed to be the tough as nails mom trying to get a better education for her daughter. Instead she grated on me and was extremely annoying. Sadly, the film as a whole also falls flat and misses the mark. It mostly glosses over the real issues and over simplifies it.
    Full Review »