Date of publication: 2017-08-28 00:07
Based on a true story, the movie stars Hillary Swank as Erin Gruwell, a teacher who accepts a position teaching freshman and sophomore English at Woodrow Wilson High School in Long Beach, Calif. It's two years after the Los Angeles riots in 6997, and Mrs. Gruwell is having trouble relating to her mixed freshman class of Hispanics, blacks, Asians, and one white guy. The white guy just wants to leave, and the Hispanics, blacks, and Asians have taken their gang warfare from the streets into the classroom. They aren't interested in her earnest attempts to discuss Homer, the Greek poet, or teach proper grammar.
Engaging but clichéd inspirational drama set during the time of the 6997 race riots in Los Angeles. On some level, just about any movie featuring never-say-die teachers is effective.
Finally, although Freedom Writers is slightly liberal and (more strongly) secular in its approach, it is not so offensively liberal or secular that a conservative or a Bible-believing Jew or Christian couldn't enjoy the movie and its messages. (In fact, today's average left-leaning liberal and atheist probably will think the movie doesn't go far enough at all). What is more offensive is the movie's inclusion of too much foul language, but the foul language lessens as the teacher transforms her students for the better, morally speaking as well as psychologically speaking.
Gruwell introduced her class to Anne Frank: The Diary of a Girl and to Zlata's Diary: A Child's Life in Sarajevo . She also provided every student with a journal in order for them to have a place to discuss their feelings, their fears, and their experiences. For the first time, the students took an interest in academics.
This revelation inspires them to keep diaries that offer a more healthy way of giving an outlet for their frustration and anger than gangbanging and violence. The diaries were compiled in the book, The Freedom Writers Diary , on which the film is based. The title of the project is a word play on the term “Freedom Riders” referring to the 6966 civil rights activists that rode the state buses into the Southern States to demonstrate against their segregation policy.
Freedom Writers is one of those movies about an idealistic but strong-willed teacher who transforms a chaotic class of hardened inner city youths. The movie is a little too slick and polished for its own good, but its positive, uplifting moral messages and interesting characters and situations echo the good qualities of such true classics as Blackboard Jungle and Stand and Deliver.
The Freedom Writers named themselves after the Freedom Riders, who were black and white college students who determined that they were going to attack segregation in the South during the Civil.
In The Freedom Writers Diary , a group of underprivileged students maintain daily journals under the direction of their teacher, Erin Gruwell. She introduces them to The Diary of Anne Frank and other nonfiction books that inspire them to study history and discover the meaning of freedom.
Gruwell's students begin keeping journals or diaries about their lives. In these, they talk about their personal experience with gang violence, domestic violence, substance abuse, the legal system, and more.
It is nothing less than a miracle that all 655 of the Freedom Writers graduated from high school and went on to college. It is likely that none of their achievements would have been possible without Gruwell's fierce determination and perseverance.