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

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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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