Freedom Writers

User Score
7.9

Generally favorable reviews- based on 71 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 53 out of 71
  2. Negative: 1 out of 71

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User Reviews

  1. FreshB.
    Feb 18, 2009
    10
    Word up homies i seen a lot from da hood and its all about claiming property. This movie is dope as HELL! Live strong.
  2. AndrewK.
    Mar 3, 2007
    5
    This movie was pretty entertaining. Nothing special. It had its moments. One of the better aspects of this film was that the students seemed very real. A lot of movies like this make the kids come off as unrealistic, but I felt the kids were a lot like people I went to high school with. Hilary Swank was good, as always. I found the aspect of her character's husband leaving her to be This movie was pretty entertaining. Nothing special. It had its moments. One of the better aspects of this film was that the students seemed very real. A lot of movies like this make the kids come off as unrealistic, but I felt the kids were a lot like people I went to high school with. Hilary Swank was good, as always. I found the aspect of her character's husband leaving her to be very telling. I've learned over the years that people tend to be very selfish in relationships, and that's why so many marriages fail. Obviously, this was based on true events, so it was interesting to see that part of the story. This one's not going to win any awards, but it was a well made film. Expand
  3. ChadS.
    Mar 9, 2007
    3
    "Freedom Writers" is a story that should rightfully be told...in 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 "Freedom Writers" is a story that should rightfully be told...in 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
  4. Becky
    Jun 2, 2007
    5
    This movie was average and at times pretty boring. Hilary Swank is a great actress, but her talent wasted on an almost meaningless film. It's all about gangs and violence, so why does almost everything work out in the end? Yes, it had its touching moments, but should've gone farther with the gangs. This movie was too dragged out.
  5. KyleW.
    Jan 5, 2007
    8
    I went to an early showing and must say, not only did I not know much about this movie but also wasn't expecting too much from it. In the end I was very pleasantly surprised. The actinig was top notch and the story flowed well.
  6. n/an/a
    Jan 8, 2007
    10
    I loved this movie, it was very inspirational, I laughed and cried literally. I thought it was great when the entire movie theater audience started clapping at various touching parts of the movie. I really enjoyed this movie and I would recommend it to anyone.
  7. ChanteeJ.
    Nov 10, 2007
    10
    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.
  8. ReidF.
    Jan 27, 2007
    7
    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.
  9. JimS.
    Jan 5, 2007
    9
    Inspiring and touching at the same time. The best part is that it is based on a true story.
  10. ElliotP.
    Feb 4, 2007
    9
    Hilary Swank nails this role, which I expect was difficult to rise above the well-worn To Sir with Love path. If you hate movies that make you cry, stay away from this one, because it is a moving experience.
  11. AndrewG.
    Jun 12, 2007
    8
    A solidly formulaic sappy movie that made me cry. Very mainstream, but entertaining nonetheless.
  12. JayH.
    Feb 6, 2008
    7
    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.
  13. EdieP.
    Sep 21, 2008
    10
    Since this is the high school I graduated from in 1950, the story fasinated me. I didn't have a clue such things had happen to MY school. I went to my 50th high school reunion in 2000 and not a word of it was mentioned. The school had been turned into a "progressive" school. I was at first shocked at this story and couldn't believe it had happened. Hillary Swank did an excellent Since this is the high school I graduated from in 1950, the story fasinated me. I didn't have a clue such things had happen to MY school. I went to my 50th high school reunion in 2000 and not a word of it was mentioned. The school had been turned into a "progressive" school. I was at first shocked at this story and couldn't believe it had happened. Hillary Swank did an excellent job and made a believer out of me. If 150 students who had no hope could be turned around, then it makes me proud that I went to that very school. Thanks for bringing the story to light. Expand
  14. EvaS.
    Jan 30, 2007
    10
    Excellent, inspirational movie. All the characters are realistic and interesting. Very engaging and fun to watch.
  15. [Anonymous]
    Jan 5, 2007
    4
    It's unfortunate that a true story with such potential was ruined by poor film making. Although at times moving, freedom writers only serves to rehash all the cliches of the "genre" (there have been so many movies like this it could be called a genre of its own). The almost immediate transformation of the culturally deprived urban students to highly motivated students is not at all It's unfortunate that a true story with such potential was ruined by poor film making. Although at times moving, freedom writers only serves to rehash all the cliches of the "genre" (there have been so many movies like this it could be called a genre of its own). The almost immediate transformation of the culturally deprived urban students to highly motivated students is not at all beleivable. I don't know how the real life Gruwell accomplished what she did, but it couldn't have been how it was portrayed in this movie. The student's intense and genuine diary entries, no doubt a major factor in the reviews, would be just as effecting if you read them yourself. The real children were insiteful and aware of life in the ghetto. It's to bad the filmmakers weren't more like them (although, to their credit, the classroom interaction among the students at the start of the film was spot on). See Half Nelson, a much lower profile, yet much better movie that isn't an insult to your intelligence. Expand
  16. Urbanteacher
    Jan 7, 2007
    9
    This movie got it right. The resistance that Erin G received from those that thought that these students were a lost cause exists in every school in every big city. There are too few Gruwells out there, and too much of the other. The movie was not perfect, but it did a really accurate job of showing what it takes to get results in an urban school. It should be required viewing for all This movie got it right. The resistance that Erin G received from those that thought that these students were a lost cause exists in every school in every big city. There are too few Gruwells out there, and too much of the other. The movie was not perfect, but it did a really accurate job of showing what it takes to get results in an urban school. It should be required viewing for all teachers. And I have not been in a movie audience that has been that moved in many years. Collapse
  17. MarkB.
    Apr 20, 2007
    7
    The "dedicated-teacher-teaching-in-the-slums/ ghetto/ projects/ 'hood (depending on when the film was made) who-Makes-A-Difference, dammit" movie genre, whether represented by Blackboard Jungle, Up the Down Staircase, Dangerous Minds and many others, has always been vulnerable to slings and arrows for focusing too little on the disadvantaged multiethnic students and too much on the The "dedicated-teacher-teaching-in-the-slums/ ghetto/ projects/ 'hood (depending on when the film was made) who-Makes-A-Difference, dammit" movie genre, whether represented by Blackboard Jungle, Up the Down Staircase, Dangerous Minds and many others, has always been vulnerable to slings and arrows for focusing too little on the disadvantaged multiethnic students and too much on the nice White instructor who rescues them from their surroundings, if only for a few hours a day. Freedom Writers is certainly susceptible to much of the same criticism, but much of it is rendered more or less irrelevant for one simple reason: Hilary Swank is so very good--and so enjoyable to watch--as the teacher. In a performance that's every bit as praiseworthy as her far flashier, Oscar-winning turns in Boys Don't Cry and Million Dollar Baby, Swank isn't at all afraid to appear quite dorky and even rather condescendingly self-satisfied in her early scenes, when she hasn't quite reached her charges yet (and they resent her for seeming to talk down to them). Not that she isn't tremendously likable here, too--especially after she gets her kids' attention by correlating urban gang violence with the beginnings of the Holocaust in a great, inspired near-monologue that's the perfect definition of thinking on one's feet. In fact, if the one thing that Swank's last movie, the Brian DePalma-directed 51-car traffic wreck that was The Black Dahlia, actually did RIGHT was to demonstrate for the first time how incredibly sexy Swank can be in certain roles, then one of Freedom Writers' proudest accomplishments is that it shows off how formidably cute she can be in others. The film works because of Swank, and also because real-life superteacher Erin Grunell's success in developing her students' self-respect and compassion for others as well as their writing skills by having them commit their fears, hopes and lives to paper is truly impressive, admirable and inspiring...but Freedom Writers is still not shy of a few flaws common to its type. Most of the stuff involving Patrick Dempsey as Swank's rather self-pitying husband provides a good excuse for a bathroom break; as most Gray's Anatomy fans already know, Dr. McDreamy is at his least appealing when he morphs into Dr. McWhiny...and that's the only note that writer-director Richard LaGravenese allows him to play throughout. Speaking of wasted actors, the great Imelda Staunton (Vera Drake) deserves better than the one-dimensional faculty head whose sole function is to show how right Erin Grunell is by default simply by sneering bureaucratically at every suggestion Grunell makes. And as moving, stirring anf genuinely affecting as much of Freedom Writers is, one still has to sadly and grudgingly admit that criticisms of it as being a partial paean to emotional codependency aren't completely off the mark. If you think about it for a moment or two, isn't Grunell's class, by fighting so hard to keep her as their teacher for another year, somewhat selfishly depriving OTHER equally disadvantaged and at-risk Long Beach, California students of the opportunity to benefit from her extraordinary, life-changing gifts? Expand
  18. PnArdyPnArdy
    May 13, 2007
    7
    Hillary Swank plays a school teacher in a bad neighborhood, who manages to become a second family and create a special kind of bond - trust, love and emotion - with her students in spite of all hardships. They call themselves Freedom Writers. Film is based on real events. Another good and rather difficult drama with Swank.
  19. BitB.
    Jun 10, 2007
    10
    Incredibly inspirational and heart-felt. Great acting and cast. The whole Holocaust thing...powerful!
  20. dr
    Jun 25, 2007
    10
    The first movie ive seen where the problem of diversity and adversity in youth's life really reaches its core. amazing and heart touching.
  21. AnnaL.
    Oct 13, 2009
    8
    Very nice movie... Touching.
  22. suburbanteacher
    Jan 13, 2007
    10
    This is one of the best movies I've seen in a long time (and I've seen quite a few). It made me laugh, cry, and consistently tugged at my heart strings. It is a must see for anyone who believes that there is good in everyone.
  23. Enrique
    Feb 28, 2007
    6
    Just an average feel-good movie. Good performances.
  24. Mar 2, 2011
    8
    People, educate your children! Tolerance is what this world needs. It can be derived from studying history which furthermore should prevent us from making the same mistakes that others did before us. "Freedom Writers" is, on the one hand, a sad revelation to viewers who grew up in countries without gang life. On the other hand, it is a very beautiful movie, based on a true story, thatPeople, educate your children! Tolerance is what this world needs. It can be derived from studying history which furthermore should prevent us from making the same mistakes that others did before us. "Freedom Writers" is, on the one hand, a sad revelation to viewers who grew up in countries without gang life. On the other hand, it is a very beautiful movie, based on a true story, that proves that change is possible and hope is not in vain. The movie shows in a smart and reverent way how racism can lead to genocides. Highly recommended. Expand
  25. Dec 2, 2011
    6
    Swank is an undeniable talent. It may not be possessed of a beauty worthy of Hollywood standards but delights rightfully so. Casually because she played properly fair. Being a good actress is not having a perfect face. Particularly, I think this is the best movie I've seen of hers. And there's more of hers that I have the pleasure to see... With this film, you realize how imortant not toSwank is an undeniable talent. It may not be possessed of a beauty worthy of Hollywood standards but delights rightfully so. Casually because she played properly fair. Being a good actress is not having a perfect face. Particularly, I think this is the best movie I've seen of hers. And there's more of hers that I have the pleasure to see... With this film, you realize how imortant not to lose the grip of being in a classroom. Who works in such spot recognizes it. You inspire me to teach their ideas. As I am shy with the public, I need good ideas to teach. I saw this movie, great tips about it. Bright, with riveting performances and leaves you to ponder when the letters begin to rise ... Expand
  26. Jun 12, 2011
    6
    This movie is kind of laughable in a way. It's chalk full of cliches, and yes I realize that was a pun. The first half of this movie was inspirational and moving, and then slowly it turns crazy. The principle, other teachers and department head are almost cartoonish villains. Short of holding a cat and saying "we can't let the Negroes rise against us!" she is laughable. Also HillaryThis movie is kind of laughable in a way. It's chalk full of cliches, and yes I realize that was a pun. The first half of this movie was inspirational and moving, and then slowly it turns crazy. The principle, other teachers and department head are almost cartoonish villains. Short of holding a cat and saying "we can't let the Negroes rise against us!" she is laughable. Also Hillary Swank's character also sort of loses her mind. I understand that she made great sacrifices but she goes to far. She loses a marriage and then fights to stay with the kids through the high school. This sounds nobel on the surface but we lose sight of the other classes that she is dumping. Hazzah she saved 30 kids and screwed 130. The kids can always come back to a teachers room to get help. It shows how she falls short as a teacher to prepare these kids for the future. Maybe I am biased because my wife is a teacher but I have seen troubled kids in her classes move on and then come back for help. The kids were able to move on and become grown ups with out their hands being held. Thats the biggest problem with this movie. This movie could have been far better then it was but it falls short. Overall it is a good school movie but not much else Expand
  27. Nov 14, 2011
    7
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Bottom Line: Based on a true story, made to look even more inspiring.

    Moving and compelling drama finds Hilary Swank as a high school English teacher named Erin Gruwell. Ms. Gruwell is teaching teens (who are thought to be â
    Expand
  28. Dec 1, 2012
    6
    It is the typical movie bad children who become good thanks to a good person. The plot is typical, but the movie is entertaining.
  29. May 4, 2013
    10
    It is very sad that this was a true story, but also a very brilliant piece of work, I am so happy that this movie wasn't so pompus. Usually movies about race always end up blaming white people who did nothing wrong, but this movie is just flat out touching and entertaining. One of my all time favorites.
  30. Jun 14, 2014
    5
    It really...did...not...need to be made. As if these school stories about troubled teenagers had't become a formulaic and rely too much on lachrymose story-lines of inner-city school teaching. In truth, all except the non-minority I felt sympathetic to. I'm not racist, but every other character is either a waste, thug, or junkie. And in Hilary Swanks character, I can pitifully admire herIt really...did...not...need to be made. As if these school stories about troubled teenagers had't become a formulaic and rely too much on lachrymose story-lines of inner-city school teaching. In truth, all except the non-minority I felt sympathetic to. I'm not racist, but every other character is either a waste, thug, or junkie. And in Hilary Swanks character, I can pitifully admire her insistence on teaching these, "students", how to live life not in the ghetto's. Once is about enough. Expand
  31. Dec 6, 2015
    7
    An inspiring and surprising film that Hilary Swank surprised with a role as a teacher of literature that changes the sense of being of young people who steal, use drugs and murder , to be a writer of good, God and Liberty.
  32. Jan 7, 2016
    10
    Escritores da Liberdade é um dos melhores filmes que eu já assisti. Tem uma mensagem linda (e muito importante para a sociedade), além da direção e roteiro impecáveis. Os atores atuaram muito bem, nos mostrando um show de interpretação.
Metascore
64

Generally favorable reviews - based on 29 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 20 out of 29
  2. Negative: 0 out of 29
  1. 75
    Freedom Writers delivers the expected messages about hope and the ability to change one's destiny, and does it in a manner that it is emotionally and intellectually satisfying.
  2. The film is both too short and too long at two hours-plus. Not enough time is spent with the teens and far too much with their teacher.
  3. Reviewed by: John Anderson
    70
    It takes the bold approach of being earnest, honest and unafraid to be called naive. As a result, it's extremely affecting.