Freedom WritersDirector: Richard LaGravenese
Assigned the thankless task of teaching freshman English at a gang-infested Long Beach, CA high school, a 23-year-old teacher resorts to unconventional means of breaking through to her hardened students in director Richard LaGravenese's adaptation of Erin Gruwell's best-seller The Freedom Writer's Diaries: How a Teacher and 150 Teens Used Writing to Change Themselves and the World Around Them. Her students had been written off, and her chances of succeeding scoffed at, but Erin Gruwell (Hilary Swank) wasn't about to go down without a fight. Long Beach is a place where a new war is waged with each passing day, and when the hardened students who walk those dangerous hallways sense an outsider attempting to understand their plight, their cynical resentment threatens to keep a deadly cycle in motion. Despite the initially hostile reaction she receives in the classroom, Gruwell uses the writings of Anne Frank and Zlata's Diary: A Child's Life in Sarajevo to teach her students not only the basis of the English language, but compassion and tolerance as well. Later, when the time comes to tell their own tales in a project specially designed to explore the daily violence that the majority of students have grown numb to, the barriers that had once stood so strong gradually begin to crumble. When the only chance for survival is to befriend the person who was once your mortal enemy, the world is opened to a whole new realm of possibilities.
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Cast & Crew
|Hilary Swank||Erin Gruwell|
|Scott Glenn||Steve Gruwell|
|Imelda Staunton||Margaret Vail|
|Patrick Dempsey||Scott Casey|
|April Lee Hernandez||Eva|
|Robert Wisdom||Dr. Carl John|
|John Benjamin Hickey||Brian Gelford|
|Pat Carroll||Miep Gies|
|Armand Jones||Grant Rice|
|Ricardo Molina||Eva's Father|
|Angela Alvarado||Eva's Mother|
|Anh Nguyen||Sindy's Boyfriend|
|Liisa Cohen||Brandy's Mother|
|Brian Bennett||Brandy's Father|
|Tim Halligan||Principal Banning|
|Lisa Banes||Karin Polachek|
|Giselle Bonilla||Young Eva|
|Earl Williams||Young Marcus|
|Angela Sargeant||Marcus' Mother|
|Robin Skye||PTA Mom|
|Chil Kong||Store Owner|
|Juan Garcia||Defense Attorney|
|Sharaud Moore||Hall Monitor|
|Abel Soto||Gang Member|
|Dan Warner||Cop #1|
|Randy Hall||Cop #2|
|Carl Paoli||Cop #3|
|Dominic Daniel||Drug Dealer|
|Cody Chappel||Bookstore Clerk|
|Renee Firestone||Herself (Holocaust Survivor)|
|Eddie Ilam||Himself (Holocaust Survivor)|
|Elisabeth Mann||Herself (Holocaust Survivor)|
|Gloria Ungar||Herself (Holocaust Survivor)|
|Laurence Bennett||Production Designer|
|Thomas Betts||Set Decoration/Design|
|Peter Borck||Art Director|
|Tracy Durning||Executive Producer|
|Cindy Evans||Costumes/Costume Designer|
|Jordana Glick-Franzheim||Associate Producer|
|Geoff Haley||Camera Operator|
|Mark Isham||Score Composer|
|Dan Levine||Executive Producer|
|Nan Morales||Executive Producer|
|David Parker||Sound/Sound Designer|
|Mary Ramos||Musical Direction/Supervision|
|Patrick Rousseau||Camera Operator|
|Donald Sparks||Asst. Director|
|Hilary Swank||Executive Producer|
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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The movie is based in real events two years after the LA street fights in the early 90's. There are many great lessons in this movie, but the most important one is how the true commitment of only one teacher changed for the good the life of those students that were considered the worst of the worst within all the faculty. Change requires commitment and a spirit willing to overcome any obstacle or frustration.... The best way to predict the future is to invent it
This movie is soooo good. I recommend that EVERYONE see it at least once. Easily the best movie ever- it teaches a lot, it's honest, its 'hip' at points, it's real, and it's interesting! No words are good enough to describe this movie so that it sounds as good as it actually is. Just watch it once, and pass it on to others!
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 on a true story about a Long Beach California High School just after integration and busing altered the state's educational system, the book "The Freedom Writers Diary: How a Teacher and 150 Teens Used Writing to Change Themselves and the World Around Them" by Erin Gruwell is a compilation of the journals of the student of a newly mixed racial classroom (African American, Latino, Cambodian, Chinese, White) voicing their experiences about coming together as a family due to the influence of a novice, naive, but highly motivated and insightful teacher - Erin Gruwell. The book was adapted for the screen by director Richard LaGravenese and carefully cast with young actors who represented the very groups about whom the story is written. Erin Gruwell (Hilary Swank, in her very finest role to date!) is married to a frustrated architect student Scott (Patrick Dempsey) who has 'settled ' for a life as a computer programmer. Erin, the daughter of a Civil Rights activist (Scott Glenn), is idealistic and wants to teach in a place where she is challenged, a chance to make her life meaningful. She graciously and naively steps into a classroom of high school freshmen, all form different gangs and scarred by racial violence, frustrated to be trapped in a classroom with a white woman who seems clueless to their real life problems, wanting to teach them literature! The story unveils the technique Erin develops to erase border lines and bond the students by visits to the Holocaust Museum, taking them to nice restaurants in Newport Beach, treating them with respect and asking them to see the similarities in each other. The students respond, despite the harsh warnings of Erin's fellow teachers Margaret (Imelda Staunton, in another exceptional role) who insists everything is by the old rules, and Brian (John Benjamin Hickey) who has little use for the new system and group of students. As an example of how the students transform their characters is the funding of a visit to Long Beach by the woman who hid Anne Frank (the students have read her diary as a vulnerable Jewish child) and Pat Carroll plays that woman Miep Gies in yet another outstanding performance. Though the film is strong in every moment and every member of the cast (though the brilliance of Hilary Swank's portrayal is one of incredible realism and subtlety) and the various actors who comprise the Freedom Writers are superb: April Lee Hernandez, Mario, Jason Finn, Deance Wyatt, Kristin Herrera, Jacklyn Ngan, Sergio Montalvo, Vanetta Smith, Gabriel Chavarria, Hunter Parrish, Antonio García, Giovonnie Samuels, and Jacklyn Ngan and yes, they all deserve mentioning in a review. This is a full company effort and the result is a deeply moving film that celebrates the individual and the right to hope and to achieve. A Must See Experience. Grady Harp
This movie is too much like Dangerous Minds. In either case, it's too much about the teacher and not enough about the kids. It's always an urban, multicultural environment and the brave white teacher has to come in to save the kids from themselves. Read some classics such as Up the Down Staircase or watch To Sir With Love.
I like this movie because unlike other teaching inpirational movies, this one shows what Califronia is REALLY like. It shows what these kids go through in their homes, their school, and in their lives. This High School that Erin Gruwell worked at shows how life for many teenagers is. It's dangerous, depressing, and there often is no expectation of living to see 18, 21 or 25 years old. I think any teacher who can get kids to stay out of trouble and be who they really are is remarkable. Writing is such a wonderful way to express how one feels also. Writing is that magical thing where you can say whatever you want, and only share it with the ones you want to. This teacher taught kids to be able to deal with other races and how to interact with kids who aren't "like" them. This was a crucial aspect, because in California you get to see everyones racism manifest into violence and it is ugly. ANy teacher that can break through these strongholds like this here is to be commended. A teacher who dedicates herself that much to her students, their families, and her job should be thought of highly. This should be a teaching tool to teachers as the rest of America will soon look like California.
This is a really good movie. It has a good plot and kind of woke me up to what some people are going through in their lives. The acting is also very good. I highly recommend this movie to all.
The movie caught my interest from the start.It showed the different struggles of each race.The movie had a strong,realistic meaning to it.All the characters reminded me of my friends in school.The movie can teach that no matter the color of your skin,everyone can get along.The movie taught me about different ethnic backrounds other than my own.
In the movie Freedom Writers I liked how the story ended and how it was a true story. By watching this movie people can learn that race, color, and things like that don't mean anything. Everyone is the same and should be treated equal.
This movie is such an inspiring story, I cant wait to read the book. Its about people in different gangs that come together in one classroom and one teacher that brings them together and find who they really are. This is based on a true story and it makes me wish i had this teacher this way as well.
Excellent movie for inspiration, family viewing, or class viewing!
This movie is so good.There are moments that will make u cry, laugh and wish that you could do something to help even though it is a movie.I definitly say that u should buy this movie.I really really don't think u will be disappointed.I don't kno how they did it but this movie is WOW !!!
Freedom Writers is a great movie. It is motivational, and has an excellent theme (moral). There is little or no parts in it that are not interesting. It can be a great movie for a students to watch on fun days at school or any other groups.
My sociology professor advised the class to watch it. It definitely worths watching. I wish everybody could believe they have this power, this social responsibility in themselves and do something for others.