Freedom Writers is a drama movie based on the book “The Freedom Writers Diary” written by The Freedom Writers with Erin Gruwell. The movie was first released on January 5th 2007 in the USA, and on May 18th 2007 in Norway. The director of the movie is Richard LaGravenese and the screenwriters are the Freedom Writers, Erin Gruwell and Richard LaGravenese. The Music is made by Mark Isham, will.i.am, Talib Kweli and other various artists. The main actors are Hilary Swank as Erin Gruwell, Patrick Dempsey as Scott Casey, Imelda Staunton as Margaret Campbell, April L. Hernandez as Eva Benitez, Mario as Andre Bryant, Jason Finn as Marcus and Jaclyn Ngan as Sindy.
The Freedom Writers is about the young, novice teacher Erin Gruwell and the students in classroom 203 at Woodrow Wilson High School, Long Beach, California. The story takes place from year 1992 to 1995 and it is a true story. Ms Gruwell was very excited for her first day. She had big plans for how she was going to get the students to line up outside the classroom door, instead of not showing up to class or quit before the first semester was finished. This was how the schools’ reputation had turned out to be after the integration program was suggested at Woodrow Wilson. To teach the street kids, was a lot easier said than done. To get the students’ attention, Ms Gruwell had to call them Nazis and count how many of them who had lost friends to gang violence.
The students comes from many different societies. In room 203 there are blacks, whites, Latinos and Cambodians. For many of these kids, death, violence, gangs, and fighting for territories, are daily events. They come from broken families and have had a very difficult and challenging childhood. They are happy if they make it to the end of the day. One of the students, Eva, said to Ms Gruwell during class; “what are you doing in here that makes a god damn difference to my life?” This wakes Ms Gruwell up, and she starts to use unusual methods like playing games, bring the students on trips, and make them write diaries to try to teach, and to help them with their lives and their chance to graduate high school and go to college. The title of the movie and the book are based on these diaries.
There are many strong characters in this movie. It is not easy to decide who the main characters are, because we feel like we get to know every one of them, and each character have its own story. Ms Gruwell seemed like an inexperienced, rich man’s daughter, but through the things she did, she showed us some admirable sides of herself. Eva Benitez is a Latino/Spanish- American girl. She has a very strong personality and fights hard for what she thinks is right. But under the unyielding mask, we can sense a hint of uncertainty.
Marcus is a black boy, and one of the persons we get to know most about. He seems like a very nice boy, but he also has his dark secrets. Marcus changes his personality and his way of living a lot because he wants to move back home to his mother. Sindy is a Cambodian girl. She was involved in the main conflicts in the movie. She has been in a refugee camp, and after the war in Cambodia her father is not the same anymore. Her character shows no fear and an admirable willpower.
There are many positive things to say about the movie. Many of the actors did an excellent job by playing the characters and getting their personality come through. April L. Hernandez is one of them. She did an excellent job playing Eva Benitez. She had very many different emotions like anger, sadness, frustration and relief. I also liked the music they chose. It was not typical film music.
It was up to date hip hop and pop music, which could have been exactly the kind of music the students would have listened to. You feel like you are getting very close to them, and that you get to know them. Although it was a very good movie, there are some negative things as well. The movie was quite predictable. After Ms. Gruwell had caught the student’s attention, you could imagine how the movie was going to end. At some points the movie was pretty boring.
This movie shows that it is possible for a teacher to inspire a class and to make a difference in someone’s life. There has been made many movies like this before, for example Half Nelson and Music of the Heart. This movie is different from the others because it is based on a true story. Nevertheless, it was a touching and inspiring movie with many funny moments. I would give this movie 4 stars. It is not one of my favorites, but definitely worth to see.