Won't Back Down - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Won't Back Down Reviews

Top Critic
Owen Gleiberman
Entertainment Weekly
January 22, 2013
Full Review | Original Score: B+
Top Critic
Bilge Ebiri
New York Magazine/Vulture
October 1, 2012
It mixes attempts at realism and grit with transparently Hollywoodized good guys-vs.-bad guys social melodrama. That requires a deft directorial hand, but director Daniel Barnz doesn't seem to have it.
Top Critic
Peter Rainer
Christian Science Monitor
September 28, 2012
Social-issue movies can have real societal impact. That's why Won't Back Down, which presses a lot of hot buttons, deserves to be taken seriously, and criticized seriously, on its own terms.
Full Review | Original Score: B-
Top Critic
Bruce Demara
Toronto Star
September 28, 2012
Won't Back Down doesn't wholly make the grade.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Connie Ogle
Miami Herald
September 28, 2012
Americans desperately need to have some difficult conversations about the state of public education, but Won't Back Down goes about the task too awkwardly to be helpful or interesting.
Full Review | Original Score: 1.5/4
Top Critic
Mick LaSalle
San Francisco Chronicle
September 28, 2012
"Won't Back Down" details a bureaucratic process, and yet it plays more like an intense, emotional movie about parents and children.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Joe Williams
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
September 28, 2012
While the cast is filled with award winners, writer-director Daniel Barnz is a dunce who can't construct an argument without employing flimsy logic and cardboard characters.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Top Critic
Ann Hornaday
Washington Post
September 28, 2012
So didactic that viewers are likely to feel less uplifted than lectured.
Full Review | Original Score: 1/4
Top Critic
Kyle Smith
New York Post
September 28, 2012
The film makes a serious effort to present the other side's points.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Tom Long
Detroit News
September 28, 2012
[Barns] pours on the corn syrup pretty heavy in parts and it's pretty obvious the film has a clear agenda ...
Full Review | Original Score: C
Top Critic
Liam Lacey
Globe and Mail
September 28, 2012
A drama that's as intellectually crude as it is emotionally calculated.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Top Critic
Claudia Puig
USA Today
September 27, 2012
Even terrific casting and a well-intentioned story don't add up to a wholehearted cinematic win.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Kenneth Turan
Los Angeles Times
September 27, 2012
So shamelessly manipulative and hopelessly bogus it will make you bite your tongue in regret and despair.
| Original Score: 1/5
Top Critic
Mary F. Pols
TIME Magazine
September 27, 2012
Teachers unions are by no means perfect, but Won't Back Down turns them into public school enemy number one.
Top Critic
Moira MacDonald
Seattle Times
September 27, 2012
Though it's wonderfully acted, the film stacks the deck so badly that it fails as drama.
| Original Score: 2/4
Top Critic
Ty Burr
Boston Globe
September 27, 2012
It has the boilerplate urgency of a TV movie that has been blessed with a high-end cast.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Top Critic
A.O. Scott
New York Times
September 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.
| Original Score: 1.5/5
Top Critic
Steven Rea
Philadelphia Inquirer
September 27, 2012
A kind of Norma Rae for the Paul Ryan set ...
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Rafer Guzman
Newsday
September 27, 2012
This movie fears nuance, pushes an agenda and demonizes its opposition.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Top Critic
Colin Covert
Minneapolis Star Tribune
September 27, 2012
"Won't Back Down" is to school reform what "Reefer Madness" is to drug policy.
Full Review | Original Score: 1.5/4
Top Critic
Elizabeth Weitzman
New York Daily News
September 27, 2012
The plot is just a clothesline on which to hang an unabashedly biased diatribe.
Full Review | Original Score: 1/5
Top Critic
Nathan Rabin
AV Club
September 27, 2012
Regularly devolves into a dry cinematic op-ed with thinly developed characters making didactic speeches articulating the issues involved in the knotty, emotionally charged subject of school choice.
Full Review | Original Score: C-
Top Critic
Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
September 27, 2012
A film where typecasting and color-coding makes it easy to predict which characters are good or bad.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Top Critic
Barbara VanDenburgh
Arizona Republic
September 26, 2012
It's rich territory for human drama; unfortunately, the film is more interested in slapping a charter-school Band-Aid on the gushing wound than exploring dramatic possibilities.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/5
Top Critic
Amy Nicholson
Boxoffice Magazine
September 26, 2012
It's rousing -- if not thrilling -- stuff, a multivitamin for a multiplex crowd.
| Original Score: 3/5
Top Critic
Peter Debruge
Variety
September 26, 2012
Grossly oversimplifying the issue at hand, writer-director Daniel Barnz's disingenuous pot-stirrer plays to audiences' emotions rather than their intelligence.
Top Critic
David Rooney
Hollywood Reporter
September 26, 2012
The hot-button issue of public school reform gets unsubtle treatment in this pedestrian and insultingly tendentious drama.
Top Critic
Melissa Anderson
Village Voice
September 26, 2012
In Davis's case, marveling at yet another fine performance doesn't stop you from wishing that her first leading role was in a worthier vehicle.
Top Critic
David Germain
Associated Press
September 26, 2012
"Won't Back Down" lives down to its bland, us-against-them title with a simple-minded assault on the ills of public schools that lumbers along like a math class droning multiplication tables.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Top Critic
September 26, 2012
It's terrible when schools fail our children. But it's not so great when movies fail their actors, either.
Top Critic
September 26, 2012
A propaganda piece with blame on its mind.
Top Critic
Andrew O'Hehir
Salon.com
September 26, 2012
Inept and bizarre ... a set of right-wing anti-union talking points disguised (with very limited success) as a mainstream motion-picture-type product.
Top Critic
Rex Reed
New York Observer
September 26, 2012
As a message picture, its heart is in the right place. Too bad it doesn't always manage to rise above a swirl of predictable Hollywood clichés.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4