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Freedom Writers

HD   PG-13 Closed Captioning

Richard LaGravenese

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Plot Summary

Assigned the thankless task of teaching freshman English at a gang-infested Long Beach, CA high school, a 23-year-old teacher resorts to unconventional means of breaking through to her hardened students in director Richard LaGravenese's adaptation of Erin Gruwell's best-seller, The Freedom Writer's Diaries: How a Teacher and 150 Teens Used Writing to Change Themselves and the World Around Them. Her students had been written off, and her chances of succeeding scoffed at, but Erin Gruwell (Hilary Swank) wasn't about to go down without a fight. Long Beach is a place where a new war is waged with each passing day, and when the hardened students who walk those dangerous hallways sense an outsider attempting to understand their plight, their cynical resentment threatens to keep a deadly cycle in motion. Despite the initially hostile reaction she receives in the classroom, Gruwell uses the writings of Anne Frank and Zlata's Diary: A Child's Life in Sarajevo to teach her students not only the basis of the English language, but compassion and tolerance as well. Later, when the time comes to tell their own tales in a project specially designed to explore the daily violence that the majority of students have grown numb to, the barriers that had once stood so strong gradually begin to crumble. When the only chance for survival is to befriend the person who was once your mortal enemy, the world is opened to a whole new realm of possibilities.

Rotten Tomatoes Movie Reviews


  • Reviews Counted: 124
  • Fresh: 86
  • Rotten: 38
  • Average Rating: 6.3/10

Top Critics' Reviews

Fresh: Square, sincere, and proud of it. – Lisa Schwarzbaum, Entertainment Weekly, Sep 7, 2011

Fresh: Corny? You bet. And worse when the plot veers into the glitz of a Dangerous Minds and the sappiness of a TV After School Special. But the movie, which Swank helped produce by using her clout as a two-time Oscar winner, gets to you. – Peter Travers, Rolling Stone, Aug 18, 2007

Rotten: Our eager-beaver heroine suffers the kids' sarcasm, fails to earn their respect by bringing in a Tupac tape, then wins them over in a crucial scene that, fact-based or not, rings as false as anything in Dangerous Minds. – Rob Nelson, Village Voice, Jun 24, 2010

Fresh: 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. – Ruthe Stein, San Francisco Chronicle, Jan 6, 2007

Read More About This Movie On Rotten Tomatoes

Customer Reviews


At first, I wasn't sure if I really wanted to see this movie. I was on a long bus ride to Denver, CO from Kansas City, MO, so all I wanted to do during the night long trip was sleep. But once I started to kinda sorta pay attention to the beginning, I was hooked. This movie was absolutely fantastic, and I wish there were more teachers like that. Maybe then, there wouldn't be so much hatred in America. This movie should be an inspiration for everyone to make a difference, no matter how big or small.


this movie is truly phenomenal movie motivational and inspiring and hilary swank truly does an amazing job once i saw this movie i watched it the next day it was soo good i also like the music so check out the soundtrack

This movie is the best!

This movie is highly reccommended for a person who loves sad and thrilling action movies. It takes you through the lives of the asian and african-american high schoolers of North Beach, California in the early 90's.This is a true story and all of the stories are told in "The Freedom Writers Diary" book. This teacher, Mrs. Gruwell, makes the lives of these teens turn around by simply giving them an education. Many children were abandoned, poor,evicted and the saddest part, when Mrs. Gruwell asks by a show of hands, how many FRESHMAN have seen a loved one die in front of them, the only one who didn't raise his hand was the only white boy in the room. Buy this movie because you really go into other peoples shoes.

Freedom Writers
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  • $14.99
  • Genre: Drama
  • Released: 2007

Customer Ratings

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