Won't Back Down

2012 PG 2h 1m Blu-ray / DVD

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Won't Back Down

2012 PG 2h 1m Blu-ray / DVD
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  • Details
In this fact-based drama, two women from different classes and races (Viola Davis and Maggie Gyllenhaal) draw on their common bond of motherhood to fight institutional inertia and an antagonistic bureacracy to improve an inner-city school.
Blu-ray DVD
Widescreen 2.35:1
English, French, Spanish (Neutral)
English: Dolby Digital 5.1, English: DVS - Descriptive Video Service
Widescreen 2.35:1
English, French, Spanish (Neutral)
English: DTS-HD Master Audio, English: DVS - Descriptive Video Service
PG - Some material may not be suitable for children. Parents urged to give parental guidance. May contain some material parents might not like for their young children.
age 9+
Common Sense rating OK for kids 9+
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age 9+

Common Sense Note

Parents need to know that Won't Back Down, which is based on actual events, follows a mother's journey to turn her daughter's failing elementary school around. There's some insulting language ("idiot," "retard," as well as "ass") and bullying -- a teacher does nothing as a student rips another student's backpack, and the same teacher purposely keeps a kid from leaving class to use the bathroom. Jamie, the protagonist mom, wears tight clothes and flirts with pretty much everyone -- culminating in a romantic relationship with a teacher at her child's school. Adults drink at a bar and restaurant, but there's no drunkenness. Parents and kids will be reminded of the difference that just one or two people can make in a community.

Sexual Content

Jamie dresses suggestively (tight jeans, midriff-baring tops) and basically seduces a teacher who becomes her boyfriend. There's kissing, and it's clear he spends the night at her house, but there aren't any love scenes.


Not necessarily violent, but very upsetting: A teacher purposely keeps a student from going to the bathroom, so she has an accident in front of the class.


Insulting language such as "stupid," "idiot," "retard," "slow," "sucks," "dumb," "uneducated." One or two uses of "ass" and "Jesus" (as an exclamation).

Social Behavior

Plenty of positive messages in this feel-good drama, particularly that all it takes is one or two people to galvanize a community and enact change. Jamie and Nona have nothing in common when the movie starts, but against all odds they join together to help create a better school, even though that means exposing themselves to gossip and ridicule. Pro-union families should know that the depiction of the teachers' union is negative, even though a teacher explains all the good the union does as well.


Malia has a Le Sportsac backpack that her mother says cost a fortune, and Jamie buys Dunkin Donuts coffee.

Drugs / Tobacco / Alcohol

Adults drink several times at a bar. A mother relates a harrowing tale about what happened when she drove under the influence when her child was a baby.

  • Age appropriate
  • Not an issue
  • Depends on your child and your family
  • Parents strongly cautioned
  • Not appropriate for kids of the age

This information for parents is provided by Common Sense Media, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving kids' media lives.

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