22 March 2013
Replacing Buses with Notebooks: Freedom Writers worth Admission Price
At first glance, Freedom Writers seems like an overdone cliché and knowing that it was produced by MTV does not help. The film is about kind-hearted, strong-willed teacher who signs up to teach a class of hardened gang members, drug dealers, and the like. After watching Freedom Writers you realize that it was worth the $6 admission. The positive, uplifting messages and struggles of each unique character can teach us all a lesson.
Based on a true story, Freedom Writers stars Hillary Swank as Ms. Gruwell, a white teacher who accepts a teaching job at Woodrow Wilson High School in Long Beach, California. Taking place just two years after the LA riots in 1992, Ms. Gruwell has difficulties keeping the peace between her classroom of mixed Hispanics, blacks, Asians, and one white guy. The white boy want to leave the class but can’t. The other students bring their gang lifestyles into the classroom. Ms. G’s students don’t care about education or their distant future because they’re just lucky if they make it to the next day. Why plan for college if you won’t be alive to go? Ms. Gruwell works to promote tolerance and get her students to accept one another but the journey is not one for the faint-hearted. In order to get them to respect each other she must gain their trust first.
In order to fully understand why it was so difficult for the students to have faith in Ms. Gruwell, we must first recognize their pasts. One of the most critical lessons is the story of Eva (April Lee Hernandez). Throughout the movie we see flashbacks of her past and scenes of where she is in the present. Voice overs of actual diary entries from the original Freedom Writers are common. In Eva’s journal, we learn how she came to be the way she is… with much predictability. As a young kid she watched her...