Freedom Writers Analysis

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Freedom Writers

Director: Richard LaGravenese

Brief outline of story:
The storyline of the movie takes place between 1992-1995. Beginning with scenes from the 1992 Los Angeles Riots. Hilary Swank plays the role of Erin Gruwell, a new, excited schoolteacher who leaves the safety of her hometown, Newport Beach, to teach at Woodrow Wilson High School in Long Beach, a formerly high achieving school which has recently had an integration program put in place. Her enthusiasm is quickly challenged when she realizes that her classes are all "at-risk" students, also known as "un-teachable", and not the eager students she was expecting. The students segregate themselves into racial groups in the classroom, fights break out, and eventually most of the students stop turning up to class. Not only does Gruwell meet opposition from her students, but she also has a hard time with her department head, who refuses to let her teach her students with books in case they get damaged and lost, and instead tells her to focus on teaching them discipline and obedience. At school, Gruwell intercepts a racist drawing of one of her students and uses it to teach them about the Holocaust. She gradually begins to earn their trust and buys them composition books to record their diaries, in which they talk about their experiences of being abused, seeing their friends die, and being evicted. Determined to reform her students, she takes two part-time jobs to pay for more books and spends more time at school, to the disappointment of her husband (Patrick Dempsey). Her students start to behave with respect and learn more. A transformation is especially visible in one of her students, Marcus (Jason Finn). She invites several Holocaust survivors to talk with her class about their experiences and takes them on a field trip to the Museum of Tolerance. Meanwhile, her unorthodox teaching methods are scorned by her colleagues and department chair Margaret Campbell (Imelda Staunton). The next year...
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