Freedom Writers
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Assigned the thankless task of teaching freshman English at a gang-infested Long Beach, CA high school, a 23-year-old teacher resorts to unconventional means of breaking through to her hardened students in director Richard LaGravenese's adaptation of Erin Gruwell's best-seller The Freedom Writer's Diaries: How a Teacher and 150 Teens Used Writing to Change Themselves and the World Around Them. Her students had been written off, and her chances of succeeding scoffed at, but Erin Gruwell (Hilary Swank) wasn't about to go down without a fight. Long Beach is a place where a new war… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 69%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"Engaging but clichéd inspirational drama set during the time of the 1992 race riots in Los Angeles. On some level, just about any movie featuring never-say-die teachers is effective."
‑ Peter Rainer, Christian Science Monitor
"Corny? You bet. And worse when the plot veers into the glitz of a Dangerous Minds and the sappiness of a TV After School Special. But the movie, which Swank helped produce by using her clout as a two-time Oscar winner, gets to you."
‑ Peter Travers, Rolling Stone
"The movie benefits from an interesting subject and good acting, I just wish it were more focused and deep."
‑ Emanuel Levy, EmanuelLevy.Com
"Ironically, the film features almost zero teaching. Despite much pedagogical posturing, it doesn't teach us much, either."
‑ Nick Davis, Nick's Flick Picks
"Swank's earthiness is key here, and she consistently rises above the story's cliches."
‑ Felix Gonzalez Jr., DVD Review
"Square, sincere, and proud of it."
‑ Lisa Schwarzbaum, Entertainment Weekly
"Freedom Writers is another exceptional teacher scenario not so different from the norm."
‑ Tom Charity,
"A richly rewarding film experience that rises to the top of its genre."
‑ Bruce Bennett, Spectrum (St. George, Utah)
"Worthwhile because of its honesty, because it tells a true story that's worth telling, and because Hilary Swank and company have done it so well."
‑ Brian Webster, Apollo Guide
"The script won't win any stars for originality, it's all put across with enough sincerity to make the corn easy to swallow."
‑ Neil Smith, thelondonpaper
"Our eager-beaver heroine suffers the kids' sarcasm, fails to earn their respect by bringing in a Tupac tape, then wins them over in a crucial scene that, fact-based or not, rings as false as anything in Dangerous Minds."
‑ Rob Nelson, Village Voice
"It's not a great movie, but at-risk teens could do a lot worse."
‑ Chris Vognar, Dallas Morning News
"While it is, like its genre brethren, inspiring and uplifting, Freedom Writers glosses over so much material that it makes the process look too easy."
‑ Ryan Cracknell, Calgary Movies
"Is this film formulaic? Yes. Does it accomplish what it set out to do? Yes. ... It's certainly not a perfect movie but it does offer many pleasures."
‑ Ted Murphy, Murphy's Movie Reviews
"Hilary Swank is all heart in this uplifting film about kids from the wrong side of the track who become inspired to learn and do the right thing."
‑ Urban Cinefile Critics, Urban Cinefile
More reviews for Freedom Writers on Rotten Tomatoes

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