Won't Back Down

Composed By: Marcelo Zarvos

Distributed by: Lakeshore Records

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


                Loosely based on events surrounding the 2010 use of the Parent Trigger Law allowing parents to administratively overhaul and override administrators in underperforming schools in California, Won't Back Down stars Maggie Gyllenhaal as Jamie Fitzpatrick, a hard working mother and Viola Davis as Nona Alberts, a teacher and mother.  Both Jamie and Viola bind over their desire to transform their children's underperforming inner city school.  Though they face struggles at every turn from a corrupt teacher's union to a powerfully entrenched bureaucracy, the two risk everything to make a difference in education and, ultimately, their children's future.

                The musical score of Won't Back Down was created by Brazilian composer Marcelo Zarvos who began his musical career in his teens, studying classical music before moving on to jazz.  By the year 2000, Zarvos made a name for himself, composing musical scores for Kissing Jessica Stein and The Door in the Floor.  Since then, he has composed the musical scores for a number of well-known films, including The Good Shepherd, Brooklyn's Finest, Sin Nombre, The Words and The Bay.

                 The score of Won't Back Down is a dichotomy, featuring fast-paced string melodies when depicting the united front of Jamie and Nona as they fight for their children's education and future in tracks like Door to Door, A Movement Begins, We Must Start Somewhere, Petitioning and more.  Moments in which single characters are focused on and moments of self-reflection feature a piano-rich score performed at a much slower, deliberate pace, such as in the tracks Apology, First Kiss, Confession and Closet Epiphany.

                The alternating of fast-paced orchestral tracks and slower-paced piano-rich themes makes for a unique listening experience.  The music is designed to make the listener understand the personal dramas of the characters involved as well as their united front in a race against the clock for their children's futures.  The music of Won't Back Down is at once uplifting and sobering as the listener realizes what some parents are willing to go through to make sure their children have a chance to succeed in life, a realization that can be attained through just the music composed by Marcelo Zarvos without the visuals of the film. 


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