Film Analysis Essay on Freedom Writers
Title: Freedom Writers
Director: Richard LaGravenese
Scriptwriter: Richard LaGravenese
Adapted from: The Freedom Writers Diary by Erin Gruwell
Actors/Main characters: Hilary Swank-Erin Gruwell, Patrick Dempsey-Scott Casey, Scott Glenn-Steve Gruwell, Imelda Staunton-Margaret Campbell, April L. Hernandez-Eva Benitez, Jaclyn Ngan-Sindy, Jason Finn-Marcus, John Benjamin Hickey- Brian Gelsord, Plot Summary
The movie “Freedom Writers” is based on a true story. Hilary Swank as Erin Gruwell plays an inspirational teacher at Wilson High School. Her class consists of different races and groups--African Americans, Latinos, Asians, gang members, and underprivileged students from poor neighborhoods. On the first day of teaching she is very scared and unsure, but she knows she has to stop the racism in the class as well as their attitude towards life. Despite the struggle to communicate with her students and refusal to participate during class, Erin finds interesting ways to communicate with them. A racially motivated gang shooting witnessed by a Latina gang member in Erin’s class, and a racial cartoon that Erin sees during class, help her in her teachings. They spark a transformation in the classroom, force them to listen and force her to take in the kid’s survival stories of their tuff lives on the streets. Erin begins to connect with them. She brings in music which those kids listen to and literature like The Diary of Anne Frank, and with these simple tools she opens her student’s eyes to the experiences of people who suffer throughout the world and the struggles of those outside their own communities. Moreover, Erin encourages them to keep a daily journal of their thoughts and experiences as she knows that a lot is going on in their everyday lives. After sharing their stories with each other the students see their shared experience and open up to the idea that there are so many possibilities in life. However, Erin came across a lot of obstacles and to achieve success with her students. She has to please and eventually go against the department chair, Margaret Campbell, as well as go through a divorce and work at two jobs. Fortunately, it all ended well as she fought to be teaching her student on their junior and senior years.
The film follows the usual structure of a movie about school it is a narrative genre and it has the 6 stages, Orientation, Complication, Climax, Evaluation, Resolution and Conclusion. The orientation stage of this movie suggests the racial issues that will come up in the film as the beginning scenes were of the 1992 Los Angeles Riots and then it shows the racial tension between teenagers. Also, in the orientation stage sets up the situation. Erin Gruwell is being hired as a teacher and main characters are being introduced. Then complication stage follows and that is where we see the teacher at war with the students and/or authority. The students are being disrespectful, undisciplined and have no will to learn. Despite that, Erin is still willing to teach them. Also, the head of the teachers department is not happy with the way Erin educating the kids and is not letting her use the resources like library books. That creates tension. In the climax stage we see some changes as characters go through personal changes. For example, Erin goes through hard time with her husband as her relationships are on rocks because of her job. However, the relationships with her student get a lot better as students start to like her, open up to her and willing to learn. Moreover, students making their outside school life better by getting rid of their guns, returning home to their mother, telling the truth at the trial and so on. In the evaluation stage, Erin Gruwell is being scrutinized as she tries to give the best education for her students. The head of the department, Margaret Campbell watches her closely and is frustrated but at the same time she can’t do...
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