A working-class mother in Pittsburgh (Maggie Gyllenhaal), incensed by her daughter's dismal education at a failing public school, teams up with a committed teacher (Viola Davis) to organize the parents and take over the institution. Produced by Walden Media, whose sugar daddy is Christian conservative Philip Anschutz, this inspirational drama is blatantly tilted against teachers unions, and its notion of what ought to be happening in the classroom is absurdly embodied by a young teacher who plays songs on a ukulele. But the movie's simpleminded politics don't pose nearly as much of a problem as its flat characters, stock personal conflicts, and sluggish pacing. Despite a typically sharp performance from Gyllenhaal, I kept waiting for the bell to ring. Daniel Barnz (Beastly) directed; with Holly Hunter and Rosie Perez.
Director: Daniel Barnz
Producer: Mark Johnson, Tom Williams and Ron Schmidt
Cast: Maggie Gyllenhaal, Viola Davis, Holly Hunter, Oscar Isaac, Rosie Perez, Ving Rhames, Lance Reddick, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Bill Nunn, Emily Lind, Dante Brown, Liza Colón-Zayas, Ned Eisenberg, Nancy Bach, Keith Flippen and Robert Haley