If you can't beat the system... change it

Maggie Gyllenhaal and Viola Davis play two determined mothers, one a teacher, who will stop at nothing to transform their children's failing inner city school. Facing a powerful and entrenched bureaucracy, they risk everything to make a difference in the education and future of their children. This powerful story of parenthood, friendship and courage mirrors events that are making headlines daily.

  • 2 hr 1 minPGHDSD
  • Sep 28, 2012
  • Drama

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Cast & Crew

  • Maggie GyllenhaalJamie Fitzpatrick

    Academy Award-nominated actress Maggie Gyllenhaal was born on November 16, 1977, on the Lower East Side of Manhattan in New York City. Her parents, Naomi Foner (née Achs) and Stephen Gyllenhaal, are both filmmakers, and her brother is actor Jake Gyllenhaal. Her mother is from an Ashkenazi Jewish family, while her father has Swedish, English, Swiss-German, and German ancestry. Maggie made her film debut in Stephen's film Waterland (1992). She had sporadic roles throughout her teenage years, though she stepped away to receive a degree in literature from Columbia University in 1999. In addition, she studied briefly at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London, which helped with her post-graduation transition back in to acting. Soon after graduation, Gyllenhaal appeared in supporting roles in Cecil B. DeMented (2000) and alongside brother Jake Gyllenhaal in Donnie Darko (2001). Her breakout role came a bit later, when she took on the daring, sexy title role in Secretary (2002). That part wound up earning her a Golden Globe nomination, and Gyllenhaal followed that up with supporting turns in 40 Days and 40 Nights (2002), Confessions of a Dangerous Mind (2002), Adaptation. (2002), and Mona Lisa Smile (2003), among other movies. Gyllenhaal received her second Golden Globe nomination for playing a recent prison parolee in Sherrybaby (2006). She followed that up with roles in World Trade Center (2006) and Stranger Than Fiction (2006), and then replaced Katie Holmes in the role of Rachel Dawes in The Dark Knight (2008). In 2009, Gyllenhaal received great acclaim for her role opposite Jeff Bridges in Crazy Heart (2009), which earned the actress her first Oscar nomination. Since then, Gyllenhaal has been seen in Nanny McPhee Returns (2010), Hysteria (2011) and Won't Back Down (2012). Gyllenhaal has two children with husband Peter Sarsgaard, whom she married in 2009.
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  • Viola DavisNona Alberts

    Actress Viola Davis was born on her grandmother's farm, at the then-Singleton Plantation in St. Matthews, South Carolina. When she was two months old her family moved to Central Falls, Rhode Island, where her father, Dan Davis, worked as a horse groomer and trainer. Her mother, Mary Alice (Logan), a maid and factory worker, was also a civil rights activist. Davis was educated at Central Falls High School, where she developed a love of acting. She studied theater at Rhode Island College, and also attended the prestigious Juilliard School in New York City. Davis made her screen debut with a small role as a nurse in 1996's The Substance of Fire (1996). Guest spots followed in various TV shows and films, and in 2000 she won the role of Nurse Lynnette Peeler in City of Angels (2000). In 2001, Davis appeared on Broadway in the play, 'King Hedley II', for which she was awarded a Tony for Best Featured Actress in a Play. Davis has worked with Steven Soderbergh on three projects - Traffic (2000), Solaris (2002) and Syriana (2005). Other projects include Far from Heaven (2002), Antwone Fisher (2002) and Disturbia (2007). In 2008, she played Mrs. Miller in Doubt (2008), for which she was nominated for a Best Supporting Actress Oscar. In 2011, she won critical acclaim for her starring role as Aibileen Clark in the box-office hit The Help (2011).
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  • Lance ReddickCharles Alberts

    Lance Reddick was born on June 7, 1962 in Baltimore, Maryland, USA as Lance Solomon Reddick. He is an actor and producer, known for John Wick (2014), John Wick: Chapter 2 (2017) and White House Down (2013). He has been married to Stephanie Diane Day since June 2011. He was previously married to Suzanne Yvonne Louis.
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  • Emily Alyn LindMalia Fitzpatrick

    Emily Alyn Lind's body of work would be impressive for any Hollywood actress, but for a rising star of such a young age, it is quite remarkable. Emily will next star alongside Ewan McGregor and Rebecca Ferguson in the Warner Bros. film Doctor Sleep (2019). Based on the popular Stephen King novel, the film is the sequel to "The Shining." Emily will also be seen in Facebook Watch's "Sacred Lies: The Singing Bones" with Juliette Lewis. The show is based on The Brothers Grimm: The Singing Bones, but will also include inspiration from real-life murders. Later this year, Emily is set to begin production on Netflix's horror comedy "The Babysitter 2," where she will reprise her role of 'Melanie' from Netflix's cult hit "The Babysitter." This year she also makes her debut as a musical artist. Emily co-writes her music, which is produced by Trizm (who has written and produced for Kanye, ASAP Rocky, DojaCat) and KoOoLkOjAk (who has written and produced for Spider Verse, Flo Rida, Sean Paul). Her first single is due out in the beginning of November. Last year, Emily was seen in the sci-fi thriller film "Replicas" alongside Keanu Reeves and Alice Eve. In 2017, she starred in the New Line horror film "Lights Out." In 2011, Emily played Shirley Temple in Clint Eastwood's "J. Edgar," opposite Leonardo DiCaprio. In 2012, she starred in "The Haunting in Connecticut 2" and opposite Maggie Gyllenhaal in "Won't Back Down." Following, Emily starred in the movie musical "Dear Dumb Diary," based on the popular children's book series; in "Jackie and Ryan" alongside Katherine Heigl and Ben Barnes, which premiered at the 2014 Venice Film Festival; and in "Hidden" alongside Alexander Skarsgard and Andrea Riseborough. Emily began her acting career with the role of 'Young Lily' in "The Secret Life of Bees." At the age of five years old, she played 'Young Linda' in Gaspar Noe's "Enter the Void," which premiered at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival. Also in 2009, Emily ventured into television starring on the ABC series "Eastwick" and on the daytime drama "All My Children". Other television roles included "Medium," "Criminal Minds," "Hawaii 5-O," "Suburgatory," Lifetime's "Who is Clark Rockefeller?", "Sundays at Tiffany's," "Code Black," and "Rush Hour." She is also widely known for the ABC hit series, "Revenge," playing 'Young Amanda Clarke.' Not only is Emily a talented young actress, but she feels strongly about giving back. She is passionate about the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Her love for Make-A-Wish began when she played the part of 'Vanessa Marks,' a young girl battling cancer, in the movie "November Christmas." Emily created a 'love box' to keep on the set of "November Christmas," which encouraged people to donate to the charity. Emily raised so much money that she decided that she would create a 'love box' for every set she was on. Emily resides in Los Angeles with her mother and sisters Natalie Alyn Lind and Alyvia Alyn Lind who are also actresses.
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  • Sara LindseyActor

  • Marianne Jean-BaptisteOlivia Lopez

    Marianne Jean-Baptiste was born on April 26, 1967 in London, England as Marianne Raigipcien Jean-Baptiste. She is an actress and director, known for Without a Trace (2002), Secrets & Lies (1996) and Spy Game (2001). She has been married to Evan Williams since 1997. They have two children.
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  • Oscar IsaacMichael Perry

    Oscar Isaac was born Óscar Isaac Hernández Estrada in Guatemala, to a Guatemalan mother, María Eugenia, and a Cuban father, Oscar Gonzalo Hernández-Cano, a pulmonologist. Oscar was raised in Miami, Florida. Before he became an actor, he played lead guitar and sang vocals in his band the Blinking Underdogs. He graduated from the Juilliard School in 2005. Isaac's first major film role was Joseph in the film The Nativity Story (2006). He also had a small role in All About the Benjamins (2002) and the Ché Guevara biopic Guerrilla (2011). In addition to movie appearances, he made an appearance in the television series Law & Order: Criminal Intent (2001). He also had a part in the movies The Life Before Her Eyes (2007); Body of Lies (2008), alongside Leonardo DiCaprio and Russell Crowe; Agora (2009), alongside Rachel Weisz; and the Australian film Balibo (2009), where he played José Ramos-Horta, former president of East Timor, set amid the Indonesian invasion of East Timor in 1975; Isaac won the Australian Film Institute Award for Best Supporting Actor for the role. In 2013, Oscar starred in the Coen Brothers' folk music-themed comedy-drama, Inside Llewyn Davis (2013), for which he received a Golden Globe Award nomination. He subsequently starred in the crime drama A Most Violent Year (2014) and the science fiction thriller Ex Machina (2014), and appeared in the Star Wars films Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens (2015) and Star Wars: Episode VIII - The Last Jedi (2017), as X-wing pilot Poe Dameron, and the ninth X-Men film, X-Men: Apocalypse (2016), as the mutant supervillain Apocalypse. He has also headlined the HBO miniseries Show Me a Hero (2015), as politician Nick Wasicsko in 2015, which earned him the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor - Miniseries or Television Film. He has a son with his wife, Danish director Elvira Lind.
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  • Rosie PerezBreena Harper

    Rosie Perez was born in Bushwick, Brooklyn, New York City, to Lydia Perez and Ismael Serrano, a merchant marine. She is of Puerto Rican descent. Rosie attended Grover Cleveland High School in Ridgewood, Queens, New York, and later enrolled at Los Angeles City College in Los Angeles, California. Rosie Perez was in her second year of college, and just about to move back to New York from Los Angeles. Her friends had given her a going-away party. When Spike Lee proposed that she work in his film Do the Right Thing (1989), she accepted. It would be her first major acting role. She went on play the supporting role of Carla Rodrigo in Peter Weir's Fearless (1993), for which she was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. (She lost to Anna Paquin for The Piano (1993).)
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  • Ving RhamesPrincipal Thompson

    Strikingly featured and muscular American actor Ving Rhames was born Irving Rameses Rhames in Harlem, New York, to Reather, a homemaker, and Ernest Rhames, an auto mechanic. A good student, Ving entered the New York High School of Performing Arts, where he discovered his love of acting. He studied at the Juilliard School of Drama, and began his career in New York theater and in Shakespeare in the Park productions. He first appeared on Broadway in the play "The Winter Boys", in 1984. Also that year, he appeared in front of the cameras for the first time in the TV movie Go Tell It on the Mountain (1985), and was then quickly cast in minor roles in several popular TV shows, including Miami Vice (1984), Tour of Duty (1987) and Crime Story (1986). Ving continued his rise to fame through his work in soap operas. His big break came in 1994 when Quentin Tarantino cast him as the merciless drug dealer Marsellus Wallace in the mega hit Pulp Fiction (1994). Not long after, director Brian De Palma cast Rhames alongside Tom Cruise as the ace computer hacker Luther Stickell in Mission: Impossible (1996). With solid performances in both these highly popular productions, his face was now well known to moviegoers and the work offers began rolling in more frequently. His next career highlight was playing the lead role in the HBO production of Don King: Only in America (1997). Rhames' performance as the world's most infamous boxing promoter was nothing short of brilliant, and at the 1998 Golden Globe Awards he picked up the award for Best Actor in a Miniseries. However, in an incredible display of compassion, he handed over the award to fellow nominee Jack Lemmon, as he felt Lemmon was a more deserving winner. Rhames then made an attention-grabbing performance in Bringing Out the Dead (1999), reprised his role as Luther Stickell in Mission: Impossible II (2000), contributed his deep bass voice for the character of Cobra Bubbles in Lilo & Stitch (2002), and played a burly cop fighting cannibal zombie hordes in Dawn of the Dead (2004). A keen fitness and weightlifting enthusiast, Rhames is also well known for his strong spiritual beliefs and benevolent attitude towards other people. In a remarkable turn of events whilst filming The Saint of Fort Washington (1993) in New York, he was introduced to a homeless man who turned out to be his long-lost older brother, Junior, who had lost contact with the family after serving in Vietnam. The thrilled Rhames immediately assisted his disheveled brother in getting proper food and clothing and moved him into his own apartment.
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  • Bill NunnPrincipal Holland

    Commanding performer Bill Nunn made his feature debut in fellow Morehouse College graduate Spike Lee's School Daze (1988), but really etched himself into moviegoers' minds as a formidable screen presence in his second film with Lee, Do the Right Thing (1989), playing Radio Raheem, whose ever-present boom box is at the center of a fight that leads to his death at the hands of an overzealous police officer, the prelude to the all-out riot that follows (Nunn also acted in Mo' Better Blues (1990) and He Got Game (1998) for Lee). Though he made his initial mark playing young street toughs on screen, this veteran of the Atlanta stage showed he could use his impressive size for something other than menace with a critically acclaimed performance as Harrison Ford's sympathetic, high-spirited physical therapist in Regarding Henry (1991). Nunn subsequently played pretty much every type there is, all the way up to nice, huggable teddy bear guys like Whoopi Goldberg's protector Eddie Souther in Sister Act (1992). His professionalism made him a favorite of other directors besides Lee. He portrayed a Southern police chief in Bill Condon's White Lie (1991) (USA Network), later reteaming with Condon for Candyman: Farewell to the Flesh (1995), and has also acted twice for Michael Apted (Extreme Measures (1996), HBO's Always Outnumbered (1998)) and Gary Fleder (Things to Do in Denver When You're Dead (1995), Kiss the Girls (1997)). Nunn also turned in a fine performance as Tim Roth's adoptive father in The Legend of 1900 (1998), Giuseppe Tornatore's first English-language feature, released initially in Italy and then in the United States in 1999. He can also be seen in Spider-Man (2002), People I Know (2002) with Al Pacino and the prison thriller Lockdown (2000). Nunn has also found time to do numerous television pilots and three series. He was in the CBS series Traps (1994) with George C. Scott, sitcom Local Heroes (1995) for NBC and the critically acclaimed The Job (2001) with Denis Leary on ABC. He appeared on episodes of Chicago Hope (1994), Touched by an Angel (1994) (both CBS), New York Undercover (1994) and Millennium (1996) (both Fox), among others. Nunn lived in Georgia with his wife Donna and daughters Jessica and Cydney.
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