While teachers' unions have already taken a strong stand against the film, Barnz, a self-described “Jewish liberal Democrat” who is a union member and comes from a family of teachers and professors, takes care not to make the unions the main bad guy of “Won't Back Down,” although he certainly doesn't give them a thumbs-up, either. Bach's union-protected bad teacher and Arthur Gould's strident union president who is willing to play dirty to keep Jamie and Nona from setting a precedent are offset by Oscar Isaac's turn as a talented young music teacher whose personal history makes him a loyal union supporter and Oscar winner Holly Hunter's small role as a union leader who initially tries to bribe Jamie into quitting her quest but later begins to question the union's motives.
“Won't Back Down” is full of characters and subplots and is designed to get people talking and thinking about the vital issue of education reform, whether they agree or disagree with the filmmakers' stance or conclusions.
Editor's Note: Walden Media, the producer of “Won't Back Down,” is a division of The Anschutz Corp., which owns The Oklahoma Publishing Co., publisher of The Oklahoman. Staff Writer Brandy McDonnell attended a special preview of the movie for this story.
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‘Won't Back Down'
Starring: Maggie Gyllenhaal, Viola Davis, Emily Alyn Lind, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Lance Reddick, Holly Hunter, Ving Rhames, Oscar Isaac.
(Thematic elements and language)