Freedom Writers

Freedom Writers

4.4 26
Director: Richard LaGravenese

Cast: Hilary Swank, Scott Glenn, Imelda Staunton

     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

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

Overview

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.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide
By 2007, movies about inspirational teachers reaching out to the unreachable had become a no. 2 pencil a dozen, and Freedom Writers doesn't raise the overall value of the genre. However, its broad strokes do become more detailed as it moves forward. The true story is not the problem, even though Erin Gruwell's class -- ethnically diverse to the point of tokenism, with mutual loathing among every minority -- would be considered trite if it were a work of fiction. Rather, it's Richard LaGravanese's sloppy direction and script that give this film its sputtering start. During the predictable opening scenes of friction, there isn't an ounce of nuance, and each line of dialogue is met with generic murmurings that are best suited to the chorus in a hammy musical. LaGravenese handles genuine problems among urban teens -- most notably, gang violence -- with such ham fists, he shuts off the viewer's every instinct toward sympathy. Fortunately, the film benefits from the presence of a two-time Oscar winner, and she makes it moderately interesting through sheer force of will. As the inspirational teacher, Hilary Swank does such a good job seeming sweet and recklessly optimistic, it's actually not grating. About the time she introduces the students to the plight of Jews during the Holocaust, a rough but effective metaphor for their own racial tensions, the movie starts to gain resonance. Freedom Writers never fully becomes a success, as the broad characterizations continue. Particularly frustrating are the sticks in the mud who oppose Erin's every gesture, be it a fellow teacher (John Benjamin Hickey), her department head (Imelda Staunton), or even her husband (Patrick Dempsey), who all display a casually racist cruelty toward the students. Then again, if those are the circumstances "Miss G" really had to deal with, the film shouldn't shy away from them.

Product Details

Release Date:
01/01/2013
UPC:
0883929302161
Original Release:
2007
Source:
Paramount Catalog
Presentation:
[Wide Screen]
Sound:
[Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround]
Sales rank:
13,838

Related Subjects

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Hilary Swank Erin Gruwell
Scott Glenn Steve Gruwell
Imelda Staunton Margaret Vail
Patrick Dempsey Scott Casey
Mario Andre
April Lee Hernandez Eva
Robert Wisdom Dr. Carl John
John Benjamin Hickey Brian Gelford
Pat Carroll Miep Gies
Hunter Parrish Ben
Kristin Herrera Gloria
Jaclyn Ngan Sindy
Sergio Montalvo Alejandro
Jason Finn Marcus
Deance Wyatt Jamal
Vanetta Smith Brandy
Gabriel Chavarria Tito
Antonio Garcia Miguel
Giovonnie Samuels Victoria
Will Morales Paco
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
Horace Hall Himself
Tim Halligan Principal Banning
Lisa Banes Karin Polachek
Giselle Bonilla Young Eva
Earl Williams Young Marcus
Blake Hightower Olive
Angela Sargeant Marcus' Mother
Robin Skye PTA Mom
Chil Kong Store Owner
Juan Garcia Defense Attorney
Larry Cahn Prosecutor
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
DJ Motive8 DJ
Renee Firestone Herself (Holocaust Survivor)
Eddie Ilam Himself (Holocaust Survivor)
Elisabeth Mann Herself (Holocaust Survivor)
Gloria Ungar Herself (Holocaust Survivor)
Mike Nowak Conductor

Technical Credits
Richard LaGravenese Director,Screenwriter
Tena Austin Makeup
Laurence Bennett Production Designer
Thomas Betts Set Decoration/Design
Peter Borck Art Director
Jim Denault Cinematographer
Debra Denson Makeup
Danny DeVito Producer
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 Moritz Editor
David Parker Sound/Sound Designer
Mary Ramos Musical Direction/Supervision
Patrick Rousseau Camera Operator
RZA Score Composer
Michael Shamberg Producer
Stacey Sher Producer
Margery Simkin Casting
Donald Sparks Asst. Director
Hilary Swank Executive Producer
Judy Twine Makeup
will.i.am Score Composer
Kentaro Yano Makeup

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Freedom Writers
1. Chapter 1
2. Chapter 2
3. Chapter 3
4. Chapter 4
5. Chapter 5
6. Chapter 6
7. Chapter 7
8. Chapter 8
9. Chapter 9
10. Chapter 10
11. Chapter 11
12. Chapter 12
13. Chapter 13
14. Chapter 14
15. Chapter 15
16. Chapter 16
17. Chapter 17

Videos

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >

Freedom Writers 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 26 reviews.
Leveson-Gower More than 1 year ago
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
Guest More than 1 year ago
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!
Guest More than 1 year ago
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
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
8thgrader More than 1 year ago
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.
DocJohn43s More than 1 year ago
Excellent movie for inspiration, family viewing, or class viewing!
Guest More than 1 year ago
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 !!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Carol-Mindy-White More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago