Ever have a teacher in high school who made a difference then in your life? "Freedom Writers" covers that aspect of high school, and features Hilary Swank as Ellen Gruwell, a novice high school teacher who fails to give into the status quo of an impersonal education system where teachers are encouraged to let low achievers just muddle through the system, while focus is paid on the high achievers. Gruwell is initially disrespected by a melting pot of students, racial cliques are the rule, and she slowly builds trust with her students by showing them that they aren't all that different from one another, and they begin to see beyond their own situation and ethnicity. I liked the story, the direction, the acting, and the use of history to get students to think beyond today. There are quite a few subplots with the different students that are genuinely touching and engage the audience and give hope for positive change if teenagers receive the proper care and motivational guidance. Swank is very good as Gruwell, and provides a lot of the spunk and verve to her drive to see her students learn and succeed in spite of traumatic events from their lives that define them from the onset of the story. I give it 3 stars or a grade of B.