I was actually particularly excited to watch this movie. I was expecting an inspirational film about the plight of failing school systems, and I found it interesting due to the teachers strike that is occurring recently.
However, what I got was not at all what I was expecting. Maggie Gyllenhaal was surprisingly annoying, the movie treated you like a child by spoon feeding you speculations about Unions- and made Unions out to be like cartoonish villains- and strangely enough had something to say about race relations in an awkward and obvious way. Even the ‘inspirational’ parts felt fake. It felt like it was supposed to be inspirational because it was telling you it was inspirational.
Now, Maggie Gyllenhaal was surprisingly annoying. To a point where I honestly almost hated her. She was the type of mother I hated while I myself was in school. I couldn’t feel anything for her while I was watching the movie. She was supposed to be a fun woman and a wonderful mother, but came off as clingy and forceful. And her being a single mother was supposed to warrant sympathy but felt more like a cheap gimmick.
However, Viola Davis on the other hand was a developed, well rounded, and overall great character. She had a character arc, and was really the only thing interesting or even good about this movie. That didn’t stop, however, the movie from being completley saved. The film made Unions out to be horrible heartless people in the most cartoonish and evil way they possibly could. Holly Hunters character was used almost entirely for that purpose. The only other character that provided the Union’s opinion in this film was Michael, played by Oscar Isaac. He was the only real person who seemed to have a legitimate reason as to why Unions weren’t portrayed as evil corporations. However- the movie isn’t bad because of it’s stance or views, it clearly has it’s own view and is portrayed consistantly, it’s just how they portrayed their dislike for unions could have been done in a much more subtle and adult way.
There were also some parts that made me dislike this film. For instance, there were parts that didn’t correspond.
In one scene, they are going door to door asking people to support their new school, and literally everyone turns them down. Then in a scene almost right after, there are hordes of supporting parents behind them. It seems awkward and disconjoined to have two scenes like that almost back to back. It doesn’t make sense and it really didn’t work. The door to door scene itself was filmed and edited in a very interesting way and was enjoyable to watch.
All in all, I would definitely say that this film was not worth the price of admission. Now when I went to the screening, I was surprised to see as many children as I did there. And overall this film would be nice to show to children to get them excited about education. But the fact that I recommend it for children and not adults or college students is kind of a bad sign. This film felt a little immature and moreover, felt like it was spoonfeeding the audience and made me feel like the filmmakers thought the audience itself was dumb, which is something as a young adult I did not appreciate.