The film is based on the book: “The Freedom Writers Diary,” which tells the story of Erin Gruwell, an American teacher on her first job, who is assigned to Woodrow Wilson High School in Long Beach, California.
Erin is a woman energetic and enthusiastic about her work, eager to contribute to the program of racial integration in schools, but she finds herself dealing with a situation dominated by the conflict between ethnic groups and by the hatred between her students.
Colleagues and management of the school, however, seem to be pervaded by a feeling of racism not even too veiled; they just want to get by, in the belief that one by one the children will end up leaving the school, losing themselves.
But Erin Gruwell is a professional who, despite the lack of support from colleagues and her family, faces her work with dedication and it will not take her long to acknowledge that the boys are not delinquents but people forced to live in a hostile environment dominated by violence and poverty.
Erin understands that the key to triggering change is to combat the hatred that permeates the classroom and she achieves her goal by having the children learn about the tragedy of the Holocaust and Anne Frank’s diary; milestones include a visit to the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles, meeting nazi concentration camp survivors and then inviting the children to write a personal diary.
The content of the diaries impressed the teacher so much that she decided to turn them into a book: thus Freedom Writers Diary was born, taking its title because the students called themselves Freedom Writers in analogy with the Freedom Riders, the civil rights activists who in 1961 fought racial segregation in the south of the USA.
Now watch the trailer, then I’ll tell you what I think are the aspects you can pay attention to.
Several topics might catch your attention, some overlooked by reviews you can find on the web:
I’m sure I missed aspects that you may identify and I hope you will point out with a comment.
The film should be seen by everyone and screened in schools. From a professional point of view, I suggest it be seen by:
Before introducing you to the cast, here is a short video in which you can hear the voices of Erin Gruwell and other main protagonists.
Enjoy your viewing!
Hilary Swank, Patrick Dempsey, Scott Glenn, April L. Hernandez, Hunter Parrish, Imelda Staunton, Margaret Campbell, Kristin Herrera, Jacklyn Ngan, Sergio Montalvo, Jason Finn, Mario Barrett