Friday, September 28, 2012

Won't Back Down Review

"Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?" Mary Oliver
One of the characters in Won't Back Down says something close to this, and it reminded me of the quote by poet Mary Oliver, one of my favorite quotes. So it stands to reason if this is one of my favorite quotes and is an integral theme of the movie, then I was bound to like this movie. And I did.
I'll admit when I first saw the trailer I thought, "Why wasn't this just a Lifetime movie?" It didn't sound like it was worthy of the big screen. But the casting intrigued me (I'll see anything with Viola Davis after The Help) so I decided to give it a try. I'm so glad I did.
The best comparison I can make is that it's Rocky in a school setting. A classic underdog movie that will have you cheering for the two women who take on the bureaucracy of the public school system and the teacher's union in order to provide their kids with a better place to learn.
But it's about more than that. It's about something that is, I think, within all of us: that desire to know that we didn't slip into this life, exist for an amount of time, then disappear without ever having made a mark. In the world's eyes these women were unlikely heroes and yet, to the students of this school, they became the catalysts that changed everything just because they stood up and said "Why not try?"
I was inspired by this movie and will be thinking about it for awhile. I'd recommend for you to see it with a friend or, if your kids are 12 or older, with them. (There's no sex or violence and I only counted two cusswords so I call that a safe movie. The only reason I say 12 or older is younger ones might get bored.) I took my 16yo son and he enjoyed it. He did think it was a bit slow at times and I would have to agree-- but not enough to turn me off to the movie.
When I was growing up my mom had a plaque in our house that said, "Live so that when you are gone it will have mattered." (Betty Feezor) That's certainly true of these two women. I'd say that we want that to be true for all of us. If you'd like to be inspired to find your passion and live it, then go see this movie. It's worth the watch.

Release: September 28, 2012
Director: Daniel Barnz
Written by: Brin Hill and Daniel Barnz
Producer: Mark Johnson
Cast: Maggie Gyllenhaal, Viola Davis, Holly Hunter, Oscar Isaac, Rosie Perez, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Lance Reddick, Ving Rhames
In this powerful story – inspired by true events – of parenthood, friendship, hope and courage, Maggie Gyllenhaal and Viola Davis portray determined mothers­ who will stop at nothing to transform their children’s failing inner city school. Facing a powerful and entrenched bureaucracy and a system mired in traditional thinking, they risk everything to make a difference in the education and future of their children.
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