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.
Pros: concept of the film Cons: ... 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 … more
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
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