So, I’ve been meaning to do this post for a while but I simply keep forgetting. Here it is!
A few weeks ago my mom, sister, and I watched the movie “Freedom Writers”. I saw it for the first time during the last week of school in ELA, school work was winding down and many teachers just gave us movies to watch to use up class time, but unfortunately we didn’t have enough time to finish it. Finally my mom picked it up from the library, after I convinced her that it was really good, and we watched it. I loved it, like last time, my mom loved it, and Caroline loved it. The story is simply so moving.
Hilary Swank plays Erin Gruwell, a young and excited new teacher that applies for a job at Woodrow Wilson High School in Long Beach, California. She’s immediately discouraged by the assistant principal who wonders why she’d want to teach here at all. Erin learns that the school used to be prestigious but now after it became integrated and inner-city kids were bussed in, lots of trouble occurs. Racial discrimination is a big issue, the school is pretty much split up into gangs by ethnicity. As Eva Benitez, a Hispanic student who narrates most of the movie, says “you stay with your kind”. In class, the students immediately separate into groups by ethnicity and fight with the other gangs constantly. They’re rude and disrespectful to Erin and don’t pay attention. The class of freshmen that she taught were known as “unteachable” and none of the school administration and faculty believed in them at all. Everyone except for Erin, known as “Mrs. G” to the kids. Even though in the beginning they are extremely rude to her she still believes in them and doesn’t give up. She wants to get them real books to read instead of the shortened cheap ones that they had but the department head didn’t want them to deface the school’s actual books or steal them. Erin ended up buying books that she thought would interest her students with her own money, not heeding the other teachers’ qualms about doing so.
Erin eventually brings them together by pointing out their similarities, not their differences.
This movie is absolutely amazing. Kids who the other teachers at WWHS thought would never graduate, never have good grades, never go to college, and most likely stop showing up to school at one point overcome all of everyone elses doubts with the help of Mrs. G. She truly does bring the class together, they start trying with school, really participating in her lessons, and in the walls of her English class the Hispanics are right next to the blacks, the Asians, and the whites. Ethnicity no longer mattered in her classroom, even if that isn’t so once they get back on the streets. Erin’s determination to help these students, to help them realize their potential is absolutely awe-inspiring. She works two extra jobs on the side of teaching to give them educational field trips and to buy them much needed supplies. She never gives up despite all the people who don’t believe that she can succeed with them. Erin stays late with them and drives them to school if they need it. She truly believes in them. Eventually they return the kindness that she has shown them, really warming up to her. She becomes someone they look up to, and they all miss the peace and equality of her classroom during the summer before sophomore year and they can’t wait to get back. Erin buys each and everyone of them a journal to write about their thoughts, feelings, and experiences. They actually publish it, and they are then known as the “Freedom Writers”. This movie follows their lives in school and how some of the life lessons that they learn from her actually affect their home life.
So many more things happen in this movie (which I can’t spoil) that make it wonderful overall. Their lessons in the classroom eventually follow them back to their home life. These group of kids overcame the odds stacked against them with the help of their dedicated teacher. I most certainly recommend this movie, it’s simply terrific!
If you’ve seen it, how did you like it?
If you read this post and decide to watch Freedom Writers, what did you think of it?
Enjoy the rest of your summer!