Freedom Writers

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Released 2007

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Movie Summary

Director:
Richard LaGravenese
Released:
2007
Rating:
PG-13
Freedom Writers is a 2007 drama film starring Hillary Swank, Scott Glen, Imalda Staunton, and Patrick Dempsey, based on The Freedom Writers Diary by teacher Erin Gruwell. The story, set between 1992 and 1995, is about Erin Gruwell (Hillary Swank), an enthusiastic new schoolteacher who leaves her hometown, Newport Beach, to teach at Woodrow Wilson High School in Long Beach, a formerly high-achieving school that, after having an integration program put in place, took a drastic drop in performance. Gruwell, who had not noted the drop, is surprised to find that all of her classes are of “high-risk” students who are completely unlike the eager-to-learn pupils she had expected. Up against both her students and her department head, Gruwell has her work cut out for her. Freedom Writers is an inspirational film that has drawn critical acclaim, winning a 2007 Humanitas Award and receiving a nomination for a 2008 Image Award.

Metacritic Score

  • 70

    The New York Times Manohla Dargis

    In Freedom Writers Hilary Swank uses neediness to fine effect in a film with a strong emotional tug and smartly laid foundation.

  • 70

    Los Angeles Times Kevin Crust

    Dramatically, the movie never veers from its predictable course, but Swank's performance renders the point moot. There likely was a better, more original movie to be made focusing ...

  • 70

    Variety

    It takes the bold approach of being earnest, honest and unafraid to be called naive. As a result, it's extremely affecting.

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    Themes

    the low class, Crime, no parental guidance, surviving high school, fish out of water