Los Angeles, when large widespread riots
were sparked. On April 29th, a jury acquitted
four Los Angeles Police Department
officers accused of the videotaped beating
of African-American motorist Rodney
King following a high-speed pursuit
through the city.
After that day, and the 6 that followed,
thousands of people rioted through
the city, angered by the verdict. Damages
of around US$1 billion dollars were incurred,
and 53 people died along with
thousands more injured.
Based on the best-seller novel ‘The
Freedom Writers Diary’ by Erin Gruwell,
director and writer Richard LaGravenese
– best known for his films “P.S. I Love
You”, “Paris, je t'aime”, and “The Fisher
King”, which earned him an Academy
Award nomination – sets his film in Long
Beach, California, just after the riots occurred.
“True stories resonate
with me”, Says Swank
We’re first introduced to Eva, an innocent
young girl of Latino decent
brought up in a lifestyle of drive-by shootings
and a world full of prejudice. Whilst
playing in her home, Eva, naïve and unaware
of what is happening around her,
watches as white policemen take away her
innocent father to be locked up forever.
Eva’s whole world is turned up side
down and as she grows into a young
woman, she becomes accustomed to the
ways of the city. “In Long Beach, it all
comes down to what you look like. It’s all
about colour. If you’re Latino or Asian or
Black you can get blasted any time you
walk out your door”; and this is what
LaGravenese created this film about.
Hilary Swank plays the role of Erin
Gruwell in this gripping and emotional
story of inner city kids born and raised
into violence, death and drugs.
First time teacher, Erin, is an idealistic
24-year-old straight out of college. She
is dropped into Roe Wilson High School,
a formerly high-achieving school, which
had recently had an integration program
put in place. As her first teaching position,...