Last Updated 28 Jan 2021

Freedom Writers

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The movie Freedom Writers (directed by Richard LaGravenese , starring Hilary Swank as Erin Gruwell an excited new teacher, Scott Glenn as Steve Gruwell (Erins father), Imelda Staunton as Margaret Vail (department head), Patrick Dempsey as Scott Casey (Erins husband), Mario as Andre (student), and April Lee Hernandez as Eva (Student)) gave me the impression of sending a hidden message. In that message it said a lot to me about how anyone no matter who they are, have the right to do anything if they are willing to stand up for it.

We watch as an up and coming teacher teaches a classroom of students who come and go to juvenile detention centers, homeless, and for some jail, to work together and not against. It has also been inspirational to me because it teaches people not to discriminate or stereotype others just because of their ethnic background. Set in Long Beach, California (1994–1996), Freedom Writers, based on a true story, puts into play this negative stereotype of people within an ethnic community belonging to a crime filled environment.

The high school students within the movie belong to a segregated community, where each race is divided into separate tribes. The students are represented as a central point to the movie, and the way they struggle to break free from the chaotic atmosphere around them to emerge as one, putting away the elements of the ‘separate/extra’ and accepting their classmates for who they are rather than the color of their skin or ethnicity. On her first day teaching, Erin Gruwell encounters an empty classroom and has to wait till a school officer drags the students into class.

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The students separate into racial groups in the classroom, fights break out, and eventually most of the high school students stop attending class. Not only does Gruwell feel hostility from her high school students, but she also clashes with her department head, who refuses to let her teach her high school students with books in case they get damaged and lost, and instead tells her to focus on training them discipline and obedience.

As time passes on she slowly but eventually begins to earn their trust and buys them composition books to record their diaries, in which they talk about their experiences of being evicted, abused, and seeing their friends die. I believe Hilary Swank fulfilled her part as a teacher for her students because she made it seem as if she was really going above and beyond for the students. I believe Imelda Staunton who played as Margaret Vail, fulfilled the expectations but at the same time, I feel hers could have been more out there.

April Lee Hernandez as Eva, was perfect for the role because she gave her character a hostile and tough demeanor. I think that made her more exciting to listen to because of what she has come from to achieve her perception of others in the movie. I was excited by this movie and would watch it again for the characters backgrounds and seeing them achieve their goals. The actors gave what was asked of them.

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