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Freedom Writers - quick review

Discussion in 'Movies' started by Patrick Sun, Jan 6, 2007.

  1. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Moderator
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    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.
     
  2. CoreyII

    CoreyII Well-Known Member

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    I saw the trailer for this film along with the trailer for "Stomp the Yard" and both didn't impress me at all. As a minority I have issues with a seemingly cliche'd film like Freedom Writers. I wasn't planning on seeing this film, but Patrick you always have very insightful reviews so maybe, just maybe I might give it a try, definitely on the lower end of my movie watching priorities.

    Anyway thanks for the review.
     
  3. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Moderator
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    There are lots of subplots/events not included or hinted at in the trailer that really elevated the film for me.
     
  4. Tim Glover

    Tim Glover Well-Known Member

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    Just got back from seeing this tonight. I saw where it ends it's theatrical run today here locally as a couple of new films open Valentines Day. Positive reviews had me even more interested so I wanted to see it before it went away.

    The first 30 minutes or so it was certainly going down a familiar path...the been there-done that path of idealistic teacher trying to make a difference with a group of kids no one wants. But then somehow it uses a different approach and really starts going places. Still predictable, but very effective and surprisingly moving. I will admit that I had misty eyes numerous times during this film.

    Hillary Swank. Wow. Is there anything she cannot do? She just lights up any room or screen. Pure joy watching her. I expect to get quality from her but she's just a natural. The kids were also extremely effective. A few really stood out...

    I do agree with James Beradinelli's review that the film really did reach it's major emotional climax earlier in the film...

    The emotional climax of Freedom Writers comes 90 minutes into the film with the arrival of Miep Gies and the life-altering choice made by one of the students as a result.

    Still, I was captivated until the end. Again I was surprised to be moved so frequently during Freedom Writers. Predictable at times, & familiar territory for sure but such a rich experience.

    Wasn't a big hit at the box office but sure hope it finds a home on dvd.

    Freedom Writers gets a solid 9/10 from me. [​IMG]
     

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