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Inspiring film

  • Mar 5, 2008
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 to drop out of school.

Instead, when a crude cariacture of one of the black students, is passed around the class, Swank uses it as leverage to teach the students about the ultimate example of racial discrimination, the Holacoust.

It works a transformation on the class as does the teacher's exposing them a wider world. She also assigns the kids to write journals which ultimately are turned into a book.

Of course, Swank playing the teacher Erin Gruwell, encounters opposition from the established education hierarchy. Her marriage also falls apart. You know: the usual stuff.

I don't mean to be light, but the script is not heavyweight. Swank plays the role with way too much perk. Her husband just has one mood: bad. Her dad (well played by Scott Glenn) is perenially skeptical. The kids in the class are reasonably well played, if heavily stereotyped.

Even with the weak script and somewhat mediocre performances, though, the story is still strong. There's a strong sense of encouragement for what could be done with kids like this if only the teachers were as capable as Erin Gruwell. Alas, they are not.


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About the reviewer
Jerry Saperstein ()
Ranked #194
I am an e-discovery strategist, computer forensics specialist and testifying expert witness - and an avid reader.      Aside from technology books, I love thrillers, suspense, mystery, … more
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