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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A familiar storyline executed in a non-sensationalist manner
Set amidst a backdrop of gang violence in L.A, novice teacher Erin Gruwell (Hilary Swank) sets about educating a racial mixed class of underprivileged students.

what unfolds is the usual story of poorer children being denied a decent education by those within the system who uphold the prejudices of the wider society. Of course up steps the naive, initiatly...
Published on 13 Jun 2007 by D. R. Silvester

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars This was okay
This film was recommended to me by my daughter. I thought it was okay but will never become one of those films I watch over and over. It follows a fairly predicable course but don't regret buying it. It was worth a viewing.
Published on 1 Jun 2010 by Jane Austin


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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A familiar storyline executed in a non-sensationalist manner, 13 Jun 2007
By 
D. R. Silvester "Clandestine Knowledge Seeker" (Birmingham, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Freedom Writers [DVD] (DVD)
Set amidst a backdrop of gang violence in L.A, novice teacher Erin Gruwell (Hilary Swank) sets about educating a racial mixed class of underprivileged students.

what unfolds is the usual story of poorer children being denied a decent education by those within the system who uphold the prejudices of the wider society. Of course up steps the naive, initiatly inept and well meaning Gruwell in attempt to help.

This storyline has been done before, in Dangerous Minds, Coach Carter, Glory Road to mention but a few.

From a cynical, logical and detached point of view, all the age old maudlin, emotion evoking mechanisms employed by Hollywood are resorted to once more.

On a slightly more emotional note, I found some parts quite poignant when seeing the prejudice, lack of opportunity, neglect and abuse suffered by the characters. The issues I felt were approached from a realistic stance not from a melodramatic or sensationalist one. Unfortunately, the personal struggles contained herein are an accurate portrayal of those faced by the poorest children in America.

Race is an issue in this film and again it was dealt with a fairly realistic, non-sensationalist way. Again the racial aspect of poverty, crime, violence, lack of education was dealt with pretty well.

Gruwell's character is played well by Swank who conveys an air of naivety (at first) yet also sincerity, integrity, and a strong social conscience that drives her to challenge an educational system founded on extreme racial and class prejudices.

Even though this is a familiar storyline, Freedom Writers I found to be genuinely touching at times. Yes it is a typical 'feel good factor' Hollywood film done in a straight forward way, but there is still a strong social/political message attached.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Weepie, 9 July 2007
This review is from: Freedom Writers [DVD] (DVD)
For those emotionally secure people, such as myself, I found it hard to keep my emotionally secured feelings emotionally secured whilst watching this film. It was edited fantastically, shot brilliantly, acted amazingly and worked together to form a perfect whole.

There is, of course, the fact that it is an all too common issue, one which we see all too much of, to little effect. There is also the fact that the same old shootings and naive do-gooders make their respective appearances, however, the primary synopsis of the teacher trying to make herself understood, to a class trying to make themselves understood goes hand-in-hand for a movie that crescendoes and breaks the emotional barriers of the most secure people.

My friend cries at nothing. My friend sobbed in the cinema.
Watch it. Alone. Absorb. Then buy the book!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Film Reviewer, 17 July 2008
This review is from: Freedom Writers [DVD] (DVD)
Yes, you may have seen similar films like this but for me i think this film was great viewing as it wasn't about the pupils fitting in and having their lives turned around, it was also a teachers struggle to earn the respect of her pupils.
I've never seen a hilary swank film but gotta say she was really good in her role and most of all convincing.

With all what's going on i think this well worth watching and would recommend this to anyone.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars WOW! A cracking movie, 31 Mar 2008
This review is from: Freedom Writers [DVD] (DVD)
I watched this on the weekend and was blown away. I love films and in an age of CGI animation and blockbuster special effects, it was liberating to watch a film that was so moving and inspirational.

The film tells the story of a teacher, who from her class room, managed to change peoples lives for the better and give them a tool to change the world...an education.

This film prooves that if you dare to dream and reach for the stars...you might just get there. Watch the film as it will inpspire you.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Diary of Anne Frank and the class of room 203., 19 Dec 2011
By 
Spike Owen "John Rouse Merriott Chard" (Birmingham, England.) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Freedom Writers [DVD] (DVD)
Freedom Writers is written and directed by Richard LaGravenese, who adapts from the Freedom Writers Diary written by Erin Gruwell and her class of students at Woodrow Wilson High School in Long Beach California. It stars Hilary Swank, Patrick Dempsey, Scott Glenn, Imelda Staunton, Jason Finn and Kristin Herrera.

Swank plays Erin Gruwell, an inspirational teacher type who after taking up the teaching position at Woodrow Wilson finds her classroom is a hotbed of ill education and racial disharmony. With little support coming from her superiors and within her own marriage, Gruwell took a novel approach to the task in hand to make a real life difference to her students.

There's been plenty of similar films of this ilk over the years, from way back with The Blackboard Jungle, up to Coach Carter, and stopping briefly for tea, cake and violence with The Principal and Dangerous Minds. Each follows a well worn path of a teacher rising to the challenge of making their respective students better people, even when the odds are stacked against them achieving positive results. Freedom Writers has a real life story in its favour, while the blending of Oscar winner Swank with non professional actors playing the students, really works well and gives the picture an earthy and grounded texture. True, it's full of clichés (racial stereotypes, troubled family backgrounds, dragonian principal), and you sense that even with an extended running time of two hours that we aren't quite getting the full story. Rendering the big class turnaround as seeming contrived. But this is a true uplifting film that's packed with poignant moments such as the impact of the Holocaust teachings on the class, with these passages neatly flecked with sequences involving the violence and dangers that the students face in their everyday lives.

If you can get past those formulaic clichés? Then it becomes a film that's desperately hard to dislike. Besides, committed teachers such as Erin Gruwell are to be treasured, their importance never to be understated. This, in spite of some rough edges, is a fitting tribute to one teacher and a class who managed to overcome major obstacles. 8/10
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Movie in Tolerance and Inspiration, 5 Oct 2007
By 
M. A. Ramos (Florida USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This movie is based on the book "The Freedom Writers diary: how a teacher and 150 teens used writing to change themselves and the world around them" by the Freedom Writers and Erin Gruwell. It is an inspiring and uplifting movie, a true story about a teacher in a racially divided school who gives her students a chance to learn that they is a world beyond the one they can see in front of them. Erin Gruwell comes to a southern California high school and discovers that her unruly classroom is not easily won over by her good intentions. She eventually gives them the assignment of keeping journals about their own lives, This assignment is something that anyone can do, write anything they want daily without having to worry about being judged. This assignment and her willingness to listen is what bond the class together. The movie shows that regardless of where you are now in your life, what background, race or culture you come from; that anything is possible if you are willing to work and just try.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars [] Freedom Writers, 23 Feb 2007
well i saw this film recently and was overwhelmed by how emotional this film gets you. although when i first saw the trailor i pretty much thought that it was just an up to date version of 'dangerous minds' and in ways it is.. but much better.

hilary swank gives an outstanding performance and the supporting cast are also excellant which gives the film an extra bonus.

i love the true story aspect of this film and i think you should all watch it because it gives a clear message about life that can still stand in the world today and i think thats just what cinema should be doing these days.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Captures your attention, 22 Jun 2007
This review is from: Freedom Writers [DVD] (DVD)
I've just watched this on the plane home and found it amazing. I had tears in my eyes and really felt for the characters.

I think people who liked films such as Hotel Rhwanda, Shinderers list etc would like this too.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Freedom Writers DVD, 10 Jun 2014
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This review is from: Freedom Writers [DVD] (DVD)
Pass on....read it, watch it, be inspired, inspire others. I couldn't wait to pass this on to my daughter who is a music teacher in a tough school but hey, anyone can benefit from this.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Freedom Writers, 26 May 2014
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This review is from: Freedom Writers [DVD] (DVD)
Good content and acting. Its a great way to get teenagers thinking and applying them selves in the world of education.
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