I went to a special screening last night. I was hugely impressed. I actually cried, a rarity for me. It was moving and poignant. I will watch it again and again. I won't spoil it for anyone, but I think the ideas about education expressed are universal, regardless of the race of either the teacher or the students.I was also impressed by the soundtrack and cinematography, and how they incorporated the diaries into the story.As usual, Hillary Swank puts in a good performance.I have not read the book, so I don't know how it compares, but I am looking into purchasing a copy.
Spirit Booster (by McBitter)
This film was terrific! Very good! The acting by everyone, especially by Hilary Swank, was great. If you are in the mood for an inspirational film than you should go see this film. It puts you in a really good mood and makes you feel great! 'Freedom Writers' was filled with drama, humor, and more. It was a really nice film and a must see. 'Freedom Writers', has something for everybody. It is a film that people will love no matter what and who they are. A++++++ **** Go see this great film! It will literally set you in a good mood. P.S. It will probably make you cry so bring <more>
that special tissue box used for whatever your tears need!
This is one of the most moving movies you will watch. Whether you deny it or not, It will bring tears to your eyes for guys or girls. I actually just got back from the movie and it keeps making me think about everything. It is so awesome because it describes the world as it is. Not as some perfect utopia.The storyline will blow you away, and it might make you think about just how lucky you are to have what you do. It follows a class but focuses on a few certan individuals who make comments and observations about the social and justice systems in life as well as the United States.
Fine By Me (by wonkatania3)
I walked into the movie theater with the ticket in my hand thinking about how many other movies I have seen like the one I am about to watch. "Remember the Titans", "Stand and Deliver", "Dangerous Minds", and the list goes on and on. And so I sat in my comfy chair that rocks back and forth so my back doesn't get stiff. Of course, my theater has stadium seating so someone's big head doesn't get in the way of my movie experience. And of course, I had to sit in the row with the railing in front of it so I could put my feet up, because I wasn't going <more>
to be uncomfortable while I play critic for this movie...what are you, crazy? Then, the movie began. and it ran and I was quiet. I laughed a little and cried a little, but not for one second was I criticizing. As I saw the characters go through their horribly troubled lives and while I was reminded of little Anne Frank, I became somewhat guilty about silently complaining that I got the squeaky seat or that my friend ate all the popcorn five minutes into the movie.Likewise, when the movie was over, I had nothing negative to say. It wasn't that I was biting my tongue, it was that I wasn't paying attention to the mistakes of the movie wherever they were because I was so engrossed in the plot...you know, the one I said had been done before. the movie made me realize that gang violence and racial intolerance are just as big issues today as EVER. And I decided that as long as people are isolated because of their race and as long as people innocently die in the midst of a gang war, it's okay for this plot to live on...it gives hope to those who go to bed with one eye open, and who go to school everyday wondering if they'll live to see their own graduation.And for me? For someone like me who complains about hastily eaten popcorn? It makes me count my blessings just a LITTLE bit more frequently. And any movie with a tired, overdone plot that can do that...well, it's fine by me.
Films about our educational system have been moneymakers from The Blackboard Jungle, to Up the Down Staircase, to Stand and Deliver and now Freedom Writers. This film and Hilary Swank's lead performance in it have an honored place among those previously mentioned.If you noticed the common thread running through all the films mentioned and this one is that it seems to take a neophyte teacher to shake up the system and try something new. And that's what Hilary Swank is in Long Beach High School a newly racially mixed school where all the kids seem to be balkanized. The real miracle that <more>
was wrought in Freedom Writers is that Swank gave these kids a vision of the wider world. And that vision showed that as young people they had far more in common than the race and ethnicity that divided them. The writing came when she had them keep diaries that could be read on a volunteer basis. I had a few good teachers like Hilary Swank in my youth. Some of them were just time servers and not terribly inspirational. Those are the folks the educational system ought to treasure.I'd expect nothing less than the best from a two time Oscar winner and Ms. Swank does deliver. She gets good support from Patrick Dempsey as the husband who becomes estranged from her with her single minded devotion to her kids and from Scott Glenn as her father.What was for me the best was having those kids read about the troubles of another young person who they could relate to. That would be Anne Frank and her diary. And the meeting of Swank's class with Holocaust survivors was tender and touching indeed.I wish she'd been my teacher and given me The Diary of Anne Frank to read. Better than reading Silas Marner.
It's not just one of those movies. (by justme0764)
I wanted to see this movie because I knew it would most likely be good, because most movies I saw on this subject before were pretty well done. It surprised me, because, in my opinion, it was actually better than the other movies I saw that were similar. The fact that it is a true story was one thing that made it stand out in the beginning. There is also the way The neighborhood, and school is portrayed, because it is very accurate to the time it depicts, showing the war that was going on, and the real struggles that the students had to deal with on a daily basis. The movie was so real, <more>
because it was true to the way high school students act, and the problems they faced, not putting a facade over anything to water down the truth, it shows what really happened. The actors in this movie did an amazing job. Hilary Swank led the way with a cast of not as well-known actors, who stood out and graced the big screen with their talents of conveying the truth. They added to the success of the movie, and helped develop the theme of education, and how it can really help people, and that it isn't just some cheesy plot in an inspirational "teacher" movie. It was so real that it stirred up emotions in everyone at the theater I was at, and I am not a person who cries at movies, but this movie made me feel like crying. There are such intense moments, and so many messages, and truths brought out in the movie, that it is really eye opening. It is a reminder that a little effort can make a big change. I would recommend that people go see it, because it is a very well done movie with a brilliant storyline.
The Previews don't do it justice (by PortugalOle7)
Immediately upon hearing about this film, I thought of Dangerous Minds. This made me hesitant to see it, thinking maybe it was just another retread. However upon learning that the film was based on a true story, it made me more interested in seeing it.Hillary Swank plays Erin Gruwell, a teacher who ends up working with racially charged teens at a Long Beach, California high school. She starts out with a naive mentality that all she has to do is teach them and they will care but eventually she realizes that a change to her approach will get their attention. Her discussions end up revolving <more>
around the hate and violence that plague the students' everyday lives, bringing the students to realize that they have more in common than they initially thought. Along the way Gruwell must battle with conservative teachers within the school, who object to her new methods of educating her students. What ends up interesting the students and where the title comes from is the notebooks they are encouraged to write in by Gruwell. She gives them the freedom to write about whatever they want and it becomes a personal journal for most.As mentioned, the story has been done before, but I enjoyed that the film concentrated equally on the students as well as the personal life of Cruwell. The film has plenty of emotion and is a constant reminder to those who are more fortunate than others in this world, that sometimes what most of us consider horrible in our daily lives, is nothing compared to others.
We've seen this formula before, but it's still definitely worth seeing! (by guyfromjerzee)
The movie gets off to a slow start, and in the first 20-or-so minutes I thought to myself, "How is this any different from 'Dangerous Minds' and all those other 'inspirational teacher' flicks? This movie probably has nothing new to bring to the table." One thing I remember reading from a screen writing book was that you should never tell yourself, "This has been done before." You can always make variations on familiar story lines. "Freedom Writers" is a fine example of that philosophy. I can't deny that I was crying through almost half the <more>
film. The character arcs of the students in this movie are quite convincing. And take it from me, because I can be pretty damn cynical. One thing you can definitely say about this film is there are no saccharine "Dead-Poet's-Society-esque" moments with students standing on chairs or crowding into the principal's office in support of their teacher. Yes, the film takes some significant artistic liberties, but never to the point where I was rolling my eyes. One element of the film I deeply appreciated was how Hilary Swank's character equated the gang violence the students experience everyday to the experiences of the Jews during the Holocaust. In a later scene, she takes the students on the field trip to a Holocaust museum, where they are captivated by the Jewish experience. Being that my grandparents were Jewish immigrants during the Holocaust, I couldn't help but cry my eyes out when the students were hit hard by discovering what these people went through. When the students raise money to have the woman who hid Anne Frank speak to the students, one of the students says, "Can I be the one to escort her into the class?" That was probably the most touching moment of the film. These touching moments felt genuine, and that's why the film works. Hilary Swank gives another fine performance. Sure, it's not as dynamic as her performances in "Boys Don't Cry" and "Million Dollar Baby," but good nonetheless. I like how even during the later moments of the film, she remains a generally jovial person and though she's able to relate to the kids, she's still a square, un-hip white woman. Her performance is probably a lot more convincing than Michelle Pfieffer's in "Dangerous Minds" not to mention the dramatic moments in "Freedom Writers" are a little more believable . The actor who plays Marcus is quite good as well, probably giving the best performance out of all the students.I did have some minor problems with the film. For example, English actress Imelda Staunton though she does a fine job can't quite nail down an American accent. I also wish the movie, like the aforementioned "Dangerous Minds," could've went for an R-rating. I understand that director Richard Lagravanese probably wanted to make sure that teenagers see this movie, but it feels a little unconvincing watching a movie about inner-city kids where the word "motherf***er" is never uttered. But unfortunately we're living in the age of PG-13 movies. Pretty soon, porno flicks will be PG-13. I think the filmmakers were being a little overstated by making the only white kid in class a blonde-haired boy who resembles a close relative of "The Brady Bunch." Having lived in an inner-city most of my life, I understand that even the white kids in the neighborhood try to act "gangsta." In one funny scene, Swank's character plays a game where the students have to step forward whenever a question applies to them. Most of those questions are things along the lines of "Have you ever witnessed gang violence?" The white guy doesn't step forward for any of those questions. When she asks "Do you know where to buy drugs?" that's when the white boy finally steps forward. But despite these minor problems, "Freedom Writers" is a solid, touching film. It doesn't completely break from the mold of "inspirational teacher" movies, but it might be one of the better ones in the genre.
Freedom Writers- It's Just the Same Old Story *** (by edwagreen)
As far as movies go, this is still an excellent adaptation of what goes on in our urban schools. Hilary Swank gives a superb performance as an idealistic teacher who confronts a bunch of misfits and becomes a miracle worker. This is where the movie suffers as is the case with most of these school movies. By the middle and end of these films such as "To Sir, With Love," and "The Ron Carey Story," the worst pupils imaginable become outstanding. We never saw this in earlier school films such as "Goodbye, Mr. Chips," or "Good Morning, Miss Dove."The film is <more>
realistic when it shows the uncaring school district and especially the English supervisor. The latter was memorable.It should be noted that the real character that Swank portrayed left teaching after several years. If she were so devoted to education and so very successful in the classroom, she should have remained. After all, this was supposedly her calling in life and this supposed calling led to the break-up of her marriage.Let's challenge our film directors to make realistic movies about the school systems in our country.