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DVD review: Unions take hits in 'Won't Back Down'

Published January 16, 2013 9:06 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Grade • D

DVD • In case you miss the subtle messaging — like when a pro-union teacher lazily checks her text messages instead of tending to her class — the drama "Won't Back Down" props up a sea of straw-man arguments in this story of a determined mom (Maggie Gyllenhaal) and a dejected teacher (Viola Davis) who join forces to revitalize their failing school by starting a parent-teacher co-op.

The battle sets up the valiant Gyllenhaal and Davis against the big bad teachers' unions, personified by Holly Hunter as a cagey negotiator who uses intimidation and bribery to try to derail the co-op effort.

Director Daniel Barnz puts a phony "inspirational" gloss on the union-bashing, but the hostility is too thick to hide. —

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