Adaptation of erin Gruwell's book, The Freedom Writers Diary, the film Freedom Writers is a touching tale of twenty-three year old erin Gruwel, who takes up her first job as a teacher at Woodrow Wilson High School and how she engages her class, consisting of "at risk" students, in academics. The movie portrays the courage of a sensitive teacher, who makes all attempts to overcome the distress of her students and eventually, turns their attention towards studies. Her involvement becomes so intense that her attempts at bringing discipline to the lives of her students create cracks in her relationship with her husband. Freedom Writers makes a good watch for both teachers and students as it highlights how a great teacher can influence the minds of students like eva, who ultimately decides to speak up the truth even if it estranges her from her own community. It sends across a strong message of a selfless teacher who dedicates her life to the betterment of her students.
Freedom Writers Movie
The major events of the movie Freedom Writers, which narrates the story of a teacher in the backdrop of 1992 Los Angeles Riots, takes place between the years 1994-1996. The central character, erin Gruwell, portrayed by Hilary Swank, sets out from her native town, Newport Beach, to take up a teaching post at Woodrow Wilson High School in Long Beach, California. Looking forward to her first day of teaching, erin Gruwell is surprised to be faced with an assorted mix of students from diverse backgrounds, who have freshly witnessed racial conflicts in the region and aspire for nothing else but to pass the day at school. In stark contrast to what she has expected, Gruwell's class consists of vulnerable high school students, regarded as "unteachable", because of their utter disinterest in studies. erin Gruwell employs every possible means to attract the attention of students and engage them in the class in spite of the very apparent lack of participation from students' part. On the other hand, students find themselves gradually drifting into racial groupism, leading to frequent outbreak of clashes and, in the course of time, mass bunks. In the meantime, erin Gruwell faces additional burden of having to stand at loggerheads with the department head who only wants her to concentrate on bringing order, discipline and obedience to the students rather than teaching them the academic curriculum.
Proceeding further, the movie unfolds with an incident at a store, involving two high school students named eva (played by April Lee Hernandez) and Sindy (played by Jaclyn Ngan). Whist eva and Sindy are on their usual round at the store, they meet another student named Grant Rice (Armand Jones), who is visibly disturbed at being beaten in the arcade game and claims refund from the owner. Suddenly, eva's boyfriend tries to shoot Grant but the bullet accidentally hits Sindy's boyfriend. eva is then taken as a witness in court of law. However, she is bent on defending her boyfriend owing to her loyalty to her community.
In a new development at school, erin Gruwell comes across a racist drawing by one of her class students. She immediately intervenes and uses it as an opportunity to educate her students on Holocaust. erin slowly gains the trust of her students and inspires them to record their experiences in writing. In an attempt to engage them, she takes up part-time job to pool resources to buy some books for her students. She dedicates more hours at school which annoys her husband and thus, adversely affects her family life. However, her efforts started bearing fruits as her students begin to show interest in studies and become more respectful. erin takes students for a field trip to a holocaust museum and also introduces then to holocaust survivors. Her unconventional methods of teaching are met with disdain by her department head.
erin even welcomes her class and asks students to do a "Toast for Change", making everyone in the class to speak about their experiences and struggles. They invite Miep Gies, the lady famed for sheltering Anne Frank, in the class. Marcus, a student, then declares that Gies is his hero, to which she replies that she is simply doing what is right and refuses to accept the honor given to her.
erin encourages her students to keep a daily journal, which she compiles and titles "The Freedom Writers Diary". Meanwhile, her husband files for a divorce and her department head bars erin from teaching students for senior year. However, erin battles the ruling issued by her department head and finally succeeds in obtaining the permission to teach her students in junior and senior year. The movie ends with favorable record that erin has successfully trained her students to pass high school and they have entered college for further studies.