Won't Back Down

Tuesday, January 15, 2013 AnnMarie Brown 0 Comments

Won't Back Down is being released on Blu-Ray and DVD today! I watched this movie one evening with my family and it left me feeling empowered knowing that anyone can make a difference if they set their mind to it and don't give up. 

Maggie Gyllenhaal plays, Jamie Fitzpatrick, a parent to a student that the school system is failing. No matter what obstacle was put in her path Jamie kept on fighting. The movie is based on a true story which of course has me wanting to watch more and more of it from the very start. I am very drawn to true story movies. 

Jamie teams with a teacher who wants to make a difference played by Viola Davis. Viola wants the best for her son and so together they team up to make a difference at John Adams Elementary School jumping through hoops and bureaucratic red tape to finally be able to implement the changes to their beloved school. 

I could not believe all they had to do to be able to to start the changes for their school and actually it left me all the more grateful that I homeschool my daughter and don't have to deal with everything that they went through. The movie was awesome very moving and motivational. 

Much like some of these other movies of inspirational teachers in film....

Roberta Guaspari in Music of the Heart
Roberta Guaspari (portrayed by Meryl Streep) is a real violinist and teacher. Music of the
Heart tells her story in which she takes on the task of teaching violin to group of students
in Harlem. Though initially met by some resistance (from both of the students and their
skeptical parents), Roberta is slowly able to make progress with the kids and the program
becomes a success. However, 10 years later, the program is canceled due to budget cuts and
Roberta loses her job. To fight back and keep music education going, Roberta and a group of
supporters put on a concert to benefit the program and successfully reinstitute it.

Ms. Geist in Clueless
Ms. Geist (Twink Caplan) is one of Bronson Alcott High's teaching staff in 1995’s Clueless.
Ms. Geist is a bit of a bleeding heart, and she tries desperately to get her stuck-up students
to care about the rest of the world outside of Beverly Hills. Ms. Geist helps Cher (Alicia
Silverstone) see that she can help others, and she ends up devoting her time to collecting
goods for disaster relief.

Jaime Escalante in Stand and Deliver
Another real life teacher, Jaime Escalante (portrayed by Edward James Olmos) became a
math teacher at a disadvantaged school in East Los Angeles. While his peers looked down
on the kids at their school, Jaime believed that they could do more than the rudimentary
math he had been teaching them, and began to prep his students for calculus. Ultimately, his
students took the AP Calculus test and they all passed. However, their scores were called
into question and they were accused of cheating. Jaime fought for his students to be able to
retake the test to prove that their scores were based on hard work, not cheating. In the end,
his students all pass a second time, proving that hard work and determination really does
pay off.

Dewey Finn in School of Rock
Though not technically a teacher, Dewey Finn (Jack Black) impacts his students in School of
Rock. After posing as a substitute teacher at an elite prep school, Dewey learns that his new
pupils are talented musicians and decides to train them to be a rock band for an upcoming
competition. He teaches them to love rock, and that there is more to life than school and

Mr. Holland in Mr. Holland’s Opus
Mr. Holland originally becomes a music teacher in order to spend more time with his wife,
and to compose a piece of music. However, as he spend more and more time in his school
with the faculty and students, he begins to have a respect for teaching and really tries to get
the students involved in classic music. He used rock and roll to teach them about classical
compositions. After 30 years of service to his students, Mr. Holland and his music program
are cut from the school’s budgets. However, his former students ban together to give him a
goodbye he’ll never forget: playing his orchestral piece (“Mr. Holland’s Opus”).

Ms. Norbury in Mean Girls
Ms. Norbury, played by the hilarious Tina Fey, is the sympathetic math teacher in the 2004
hit Mean Girl. Not only is Ms. Norbury unintentionally hilarious, but she also ushers Cady
(Lindsay Lohan) away from the catty Plastics and into the Mathletes, and leads all the
female students in a giant confession and apology to one another, and beseeches them to
stop the girl on girl hate.

Anne Sullivan in The Miracle Worker
In 1962’s The Miracle Worker, Anne Bancroft plays Anne Sullivan in the true story of Helen
Keller. Helen, frustrated by her inability to communicate due to being blind and deaf, was
often prone to uncontrollable outbursts that her parents didn’t know how to manage. They
called upon the Perkins School for the Blind, who sent Anne to work with Helen at her
home. Through persistence and love, Anne is able to break down Helen’s walls and help her

John Keating in Dead Poets Society
John Keating (Robin Williams) is the radical new English teacher at the uptight Welton
Academy Prep School. Through his unorthodox teaching methods, like standing on desks
and tearing pages out of books, Keating is able to help his students discover and explore
their true passions in life, like writing and acting, instead of succumbing to the lives their
parents have prescribed for them.

Clément Mathieu in The Chorus
In The Chorus (or Les Choristes), Clément Mathieu is a new teacher at a school for boys who
are ill behaved. The headmaster at the school ruthlessly punishes his pupils, but Mathieu
attempts to win his students over with kindness and humor. Mathieu also starts a choir for
the boys, which helps improve their behavior and makes the school a happier place to be

Professor Dumbledore in the Harry Potter Series
Professor Dumbledore (portrayed by both Richard Harris and Michael Gambon) is an
astounding wizard who basically knows everything about everything. As a mentor to the
young hero, Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe), Dumbledore makes him learn many difficult
lessons in order to prepare him for the challenges he will face, while still managing to crack
a few jokes along the way.

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