The Bottom Line: "So I'm gone close my eyes And I'm gone live my life Despite what you think Im'a be free cause Im'a be me" ~Ashanti
The movie Freedom Writers is fairly predictable and at times slow paced. The concept that brought this movie to light, however, is outstanding. It was directed by Richard LaGravenese who adapted the screenplay from the book, "The Freedom Writers Diary" by Erin Gruwell and the 150 kids of Wilson High.
Gruwell, fairly inexperienced as a teacher, is given one of the worst assignments a ‘newbie' could receive; the unteachable teens at Wilson High. The classroom is full of unruly teens in a classroom divided by racial boundaries, Gruwell tries to find a way to reach these kids and get them interested in something besides hatred, violence, and racial tension. Of course, we've seen this story countless times over the years; there is always some teacher with the inherit belief in the students and a student body that wants nothing to do with school. In the end, they always seem to reach a medium that is beneficial to both of them.
It is no different in Freedom Writers. Gruwell used the written word to pull her band or misfit toys together, giving them something no one else bothered to give them - a voice. So although we are walking the same road we have walked many times, the concept is what makes this one a bit different. The characters are real people [played by actors in the movie], leading real lives, and having real fears and dreams. Gruwell teaches these kids to express those feelings in journals, which becomes the basis for The Freedom Writers Diary.
Working more than one job so that she can afford to purchase books and supplies for her indigent students, Gruwell spends practically no time in her own home life. With her own funds she takes them to the Holocaust Museum, out to dinner in a finer restaurant, and other outings that show these students there is a world outside their boundaries and nothing can stop them from reaching for it or their dreams.
As I said, most of it is predictable but from such a small seed, such positive things have grown. Gruwell and her students started a foundation to try to eliminate high school drop-outs. The Foundation uses their innovative teaching methods to train teachers, and provide scholarships.
The movie carries a PG-13 rating for violence, language, and thematic content. It stars Hilary Swank as Erin Gruwell, Scott Glenn as her father, Steve, and Patrick Dempsey as Scott Casey.
Pros: awesome soundtrack; great story; terrific cast; inspiring message Cons: may not be for those viewers over 35 The Bottom Line: A terrific movie, especially for those attending a racially-charged school. An AWESOME movie for teens and teachers. Plot Details: This opinion reveals major details about the movie''s plot. Voices of teenagers are constantly silenced by authority - Especially the voices of "troubled" teens. More … more
Pros: Read review Cons: Read review The Bottom Line: The Freedom Writers is worthwhile because it tells a true story thats well worth telling, because it is (mostly) honest... Plot Details: This opinion reveals minor details about the movie's plot. Ignorance: lack of knowledge or education. Ignorance (and the hatred it give birth to) is at the root of racism and bigotry and the source of so much human strife and suffering. … more
This is not the greatest film ever made. In fact, it's unlikely to rank in the top 500 or 1,000. But it is an inspiring film. A young, inexperienced public school teacher is given a classroom of kids who are expected to fail. Black, white, yellow, red, they have all failed to date and noting more is expected of them. Hillary Swank, playing the teacher, is expected to warehouse them for a year or two until they are old enough … more
FREEDOM WRITERS produces more catches in the throat than many a film in years. This viewer avoided the film, thinking it was yet another in a long line of 'bad school kids with criminal instincts' brought around by a champion teacher (starting with 'Blackboard Jungle' the same story has been told almost yearly!): it is a distinct pleasure to share that this film is so very different on many levels that it makes all the other school problem/redemption movies pale in comparison. Based … more