User Score
6.4

Generally favorable reviews- based on 14 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 8 out of 14
  2. Negative: 2 out of 14

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  1. Nov 13, 2014
    5
    "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. Expand
  2. Jul 7, 2013
    3
    If you thought The Impossible was a shameless film aimed directly at your tear ducts then you should watch Won't Back Down because you ain't seen nothing yet. Won't Back Down follows Jamie Fitzpatrick (Maggie Gyllenhaal), a single mother with a child who is struggling to read and how she joins force with a teacher, Nona Alberts (Viola Davis) to try and turn around their failing school, the failing school both their children attend. They must do so while going up against a combative bureaucracy trying to hide the schools failing grades under the metaphorical rug. Won't Back Down is manipulative film making at its very worse as the film tries to force you to care about a cause that is led by one of the most unpleasant people. Jamie is an in your face offensive women who finds this cause and instead of doing what any normal person would do, talk to people about it she rams statistics down their throats making the central story of the film a cause I honestly could not care about. The worst aspect is that Won't Back Down is based on a true story and a real mother doing the best for her child but this film turns her into a reprehensible attention seeker and the film spends so much time telling the story of this supposedly courageous woman that it almost forgets that there's even a kid driving everything this character is doing. Despite all that the film also shows Nona's life and as a character Nona is a believable and entertaining woman who is by far the best thing about the film. She is realistic, often caustic but for good reason and she is beautifully portrayed by Viola Davis. If anything Maggie Gyllenhaal gets a bad deal as she is stuck with an emotionless character with no redeeming features at all, even her concern for her child turns into some kind of search for attention. A disappointing film about something real and wonderful that's ruined by bad characterization and a truly awful script that makes people out to be ad men as they constantly speak in slogans, speeches and sales pitches, its shameless viewer manipulation that makes me physically sick. Expand
  3. Mar 29, 2013
    7
    I give the premise of the film and the acting a solid 9. Topics about education are extremely important for our society to grasp. The film itself was heavy-handed but it had to be. You cannot be subtle or make plot twists more important that the purpose of your film. While it doesn't make for the most compelling overall story possible, it does the trick that it needs to do. As a film, it wasn't perfect by any means but I would still recommend it as a viewing to anyone who cares about the state of our educational system which should be everyone. I do not think that the teacher's union portrayal was entirely accurate but like I said before, this film was from a particular point-of-view, and a passionate one that is worth viewing. Expand
  4. Oct 14, 2012
    1
    This movie was just not good, bottom line. I went in watching it because I was curious about it, but I could barely stay in the theatre. It was your stereotypical feel-good movie, which does not include strong acting performances. The story itself is inspiring, but the screenwriting and overall production of the movie was simply sub-par. Also, it was about 97% propaganda against unions. Not that I'm pro-union or anti-union, but having a movie that demonizes some organization in real life, or insinuates a false pretext about something makes the movie suffer in my opinion. It almost puts the "focus" of the film ahead of its actual production and the fundamental aspects of the film such as acting suffer as a result of it. Expand
  5. Sep 30, 2012
    4
    To me, "Won't Back Down" is a disappointment just like "Good Deeds." I love Viola Davis. Her Oscar performance in The Help was incredible. But why are you starring in a film that is led with some heated outrage over to promote a parent trigger movement and critics are baffled on identical vehicle to billionaire Philip Anschutz, who is the founder of Major League Soccer and worked for films like "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe." "Won't Back Down" is a paltry movie. The cast looks good, but the script and the story looks too boring. Sending a message won't help the audiences that much. And I think it's gonna cost them at the box office. Collapse
  6. Sep 28, 2012
    9
    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 Expand
Metascore
42

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: Ken McIntyre
    Jan 21, 2013
    40
    The leads are fine, but the movie's about as fun as summer school.
  2. Reviewed by: Keith Uhlich
    Sep 30, 2012
    20
    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.
  3. Reviewed by: Steve Persall
    Sep 30, 2012
    50
    Go see Won't Back Down and enjoy it. Just don't believe it's anything more than a stacked deck with a lot at stake.