Thursday, March 21, 2013

Day 1264 - Dyslexia: Won't Back Down

How far would you go to change circumstances to give your kids a better chance at life?

This morning at dawn (5.30am to be exact) I decided to watch a movie.  It was a Warner Bros movie - "Won't Back Down" starring Maggie Gyllenhaal and Viola Davis - which is being released on DVD and Blue Ray on 3 April. Strange time to watch it I know.  It just felt right. Now, I knew absolutely nothing about this movie other than the title.  I had not read anything about it at all. Not even the story line ... so I was watching it "blind".  I had no idea I was about to watch a movie about a child with dyslexia. Holy crap, that's a bit close to the bone. And yes, of course I cried.

In the opening scene a young girl stands in front of her class trying to read the instructions on the black board out loud.  She struggles.  Children are laughing.  The teacher is impatient. The girl is concentrating so very hard.  She says "I can't" and sits down.  Oh dear.  A tear slid down my cheek. Right there I was hooked ...

For the kids with learning challenges, for the people who struggle in our schools, for all the parents who love unconditionally and want so bad to help their kids, for all the great teachers who over-shadow the bad, and for all the kids who say "can't" when they could be saying "can", I continued to watch this movie.

Malia has dyslexia*. The school system is failing her.  Her mother is not.  Her mother is fighting a dysfunctional education system that does not always empower the kids that need it most.  This is a single mum in a low income district who is struggling to survive by working two jobs. She has no money and no educational background.  The schools were failing her child, so she decided to go out and create a school that wouldn't.

There is one scene in the movie where she confronts the teacher's union rep saying "you've heard about those mothers who lift one tonne trucks off their babies? They are nothing compared to me."  Of course it took a team of people, all with their own back stories, to create change.  This mother, a couple of dedicated teachers, a union rep questioning her own purpose and the Chairman of the Board who was firm but fair.

The movie was full of messages of hope.  Of people not just wanting more, but expecting it. Passionate people visualising outcomes with persistence and belief.  All lead by one woman who was driven by the notion that you had to BE the change you wanted to see.

 I cried. Bawled in fact.  I cried for the mistakes we all make as parents and the courage it takes.  I cried for the dreams we have for our kids and the dreams they have for themselves.  I cried for the kids who have to work twice as hard to get half the "results" yet don't give up. I cried for those who find things hard and do (give up). I cried because it really can take one person with a mission to be the change they want to see to create a force that can make change happen. I just cried.

This is a movie about a woman who lifted the metaphorical one tonne truck off her baby.

The last word of the movie summed it up completely.


Yep - I'm still crying.

Warner Bros is partnering with Deep Fried Fruit to give you a chance to win this movie, along with "Now is Good" (reviewed last week). To enter the draw all you have to do is tell me one thing that is on your bucket list.  Either in a comment below, in a comment on last week's post, on the Deep Fried Fruit Facebook page, PM, text, email or twitter #DFFNowisgood.  The competition is open to Australian residents only and ends at midnight tomorrow 22 March 2013. 

*Malia rhymes with Tahlia, and Darby has dyslexia, so yes this movie felt pretty close to home.  For my recent post about our dyslexia journey you can read here.  


  1. What a touching review, Leanne.

    SSG xxx

  2. I don't have a bucket list actually, but I would like to travel overseas. I haven't taken the big step yet.


  3. I definitely enjoying every little bit of it and I have you bookmarked to check out new
    stuff you post."

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