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. May 4, 2013
    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. Expand
  2. Mar 2, 2011
    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, 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. Collapse
  3. Nov 14, 2011
    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
  4. Jun 12, 2011
    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 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
  5. Dec 2, 2011
    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 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
  6. Dec 1, 2012
    It is the typical movie bad children who become good thanks to a good person. The plot is typical, but the movie is entertaining.

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