Generally favorable reviews - based on 29 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 54 Ratings

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  • Starring: , ,
  • Summary: Based on a true story and the diaries of real Long Beach teenagers after the L.A. riots, Freedom Writers is an inspirational tale and testimony to courage hope and the human spirit's triumph over intolerance. (Paramount)
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 20 out of 29
  2. Negative: 0 out of 29
  1. 80
    It all sounds like a recipe for the most noxious liberal jerk-off movie since "Crash," but in the hands of writer-director Richard LaGravenese, Freedom Writers turns out to be a superb piece of mainstream entertainment -- not an agonized debate over the principles of modern education à la "The History Boys," but a simple, straightforward and surprisingly affecting story of one woman who managed to make a difference.
  2. The movie is based on the life of California high school teacher Erin Gruwell, played with captivating honesty by Hilary Swank, yet it feels like the usual Hollywood exaggerations.
  3. Overall Freedom Writers is a noble effort. At a time when New Year's resolutions to change already are falling by the wayside, you can't help but be moved by a group of young people who followed through on their resolve.
  4. In Freedom Writers Hilary Swank uses neediness to fine effect in a film with a strong emotional tug and smartly laid foundation.
  5. 63
    Leave it to Hilary Swank. Even when her film's pace lags behind its cliches, she sparks this true story, about a California teacher who sparks her students, with the passion the subject demands.
  6. It offers a sort of Chinese food poignancy, the kind that may seem satisfying at the time but ultimately leaves us hungering for more, for something authentic.
  7. The movie itself offers few real answers to the problems teachers face.

See all 29 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 25 out of 29
  2. Negative: 1 out of 29
  1. EvaS.
    Jan 30, 2007
    Excellent, inspirational movie. All the characters are realistic and interesting. Very engaging and fun to watch.
  2. ChanteeJ.
    Nov 10, 2007
    I must say that this is a very inspiring movie. Having a chid in high school, I would hope that his teachers would be jsut as encouraging as Ms. G. I very seldom see that kind of passion in any teachers now. I think this is a must see for all. Expand
  3. FreshB.
    Feb 18, 2009
    Word up homies i seen a lot from da hood and its all about claiming property. This movie is dope as HELL! Live strong.
  4. AndrewG.
    Jun 12, 2007
    A solidly formulaic sappy movie that made me cry. Very mainstream, but entertaining nonetheless.
  5. JayH.
    Feb 6, 2008
    I was anticipating this to be just another one of those inspired teacher/tough student movies. And it is. But, this one somehow reaches deeper and is very much a touching and moving film. I didn't find it completely convincing, but the characters are so well developed, so rich in emotion, it becomes a very compelling piece of film making. Good performances from everyone. Expand
  6. ReidF.
    Jan 27, 2007
    A good film that does what it is supposed to do by telling the warm, well-crafted story of an actual teacher and her first class. Hillary Swank can play almost any role well, and this is no exception. Expand
  7. ChadS.
    Mar 9, 2007
    "Freedom Writers" is a story that should rightfully be the form of a documentary. As vanity projects go, this earnest telling of an extraordinary teacher and her second chance pupils isn't "Battlefield Earth"-bad, but it's close. You get the sense that these inner-city kids have good hearts, however, the portrayal of their lives seem too sanitized to achieve versimilitude. At times, the film feels like "Boyz in the Hood" as rendered by the PAX network. There's also an odd episode or two that is more documentary than drama, which is an odd mix since the film makes no attempt at realism. This well-meaning film tries too hard to grab our hearts. The success and redemption of these hard-knock kids is somewhat blunted by an unwillingness on the filmmaker's part to be more objective about its subject. Expand

See all 29 User Reviews