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Freedom Writers

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Germany, United States · 2007
Rated PG-13 · 2h 3m
Director Richard LaGravenese
Starring Hilary Swank, Scott Glenn, Imelda Staunton, Patrick Dempsey
Genre Crime, Drama

This inspiring film based on a true story follows Erin Gruwell, an English teacher at a high school for at-risk students in Long Beach, California. As her students struggle with poverty and violence, she encourages them to cope by writing about their pasts, their hopes, and their fears in journals, calling them the "Freedom Writers."

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Variety by

It takes the bold approach of being earnest, honest and unafraid to be called naive. As a result, it's extremely affecting.


Washington Post by Desson Thomson

It offers a sort of Chinese food poignancy, the kind that may seem satisfying at the time but ultimately leaves us hungering for more, for something authentic.


ReelViews by James Berardinelli

Freedom Writers delivers the expected messages about hope and the ability to change one's destiny, and does it in a manner that it is emotionally and intellectually satisfying.


Los Angeles Times by Kevin Crust

Dramatically, the movie never veers from its predictable course, but Swank's performance renders the point moot. There likely was a better, more original movie to be made focusing more on the Freedom Writers themselves, but if this more conventional direction had to be taken, it's hard to imagine a more affecting version.


Chicago Tribune by Michael Wilmington

Hilary Swank gives a powerhouse performance as a maverick high school teacher in Freedom Writers, an often gripping and sometimes even inspiring film drama taken from the real-life story of Erin Gruwell.


L.A. Weekly by Scott Foundas

It all sounds like a recipe for the most noxious liberal jerk-off movie since "Crash," but in the hands of writer-director Richard LaGravenese, Freedom Writers turns out to be a superb piece of mainstream entertainment -- not an agonized debate over the principles of modern education à la "The History Boys," but a simple, straightforward and surprisingly affecting story of one woman who managed to make a difference.


Seattle Post-Intelligencer by Sean Axmaker

Erin Gruwell (Hilary Swank) is real, and for all the dramatic license that writer/director Richard LaGravenese takes in his film, her story -- and the stories of her students -- are moving.

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