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Freedom Writers (2007)



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

Freedom Writers is a frank, formulaic entry in the inspirational inner-city teacher genre, with an energetic Hilary Swank leading the appealing cast of unknowns.


Average Rating: 6.3/10
Critic Reviews: 38
Fresh: 25 | Rotten: 13

Freedom Writers is a frank, formulaic entry in the inspirational inner-city teacher genre, with an energetic Hilary Swank leading the appealing cast of unknowns.



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Average Rating: 3.9/5
User Ratings: 292,141

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Movie Info

A dedicated California teacher finds a way to unify her disadvantaged, racially divided students and to improve their grasp of academics, partly by having them keep journals about their violent, troubled lives.

Apr 17, 2007


Paramount Pictures - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (133) | Top Critics (40) | Fresh (86) | Rotten (38) | DVD (29)

Engaging but clichéd inspirational drama set during the time of the 1992 race riots in Los Angeles. On some level, just about any movie featuring never-say-die teachers is effective.

January 11, 2007 Full Review Source: Christian Science Monitor
Christian Science Monitor
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Square, sincere, and proud of it.

January 10, 2007 Full Review Source: Entertainment Weekly
Entertainment Weekly
Top Critic IconTop Critic

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.

January 9, 2007 Full Review Source: Village Voice
Village Voice
Top Critic IconTop Critic

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.

January 9, 2007
Rolling Stone
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Freedom Writers is another exceptional teacher scenario not so different from the norm.

January 6, 2007 Full Review Source:
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Thanks to LaGravenese's empathetic writing and direction, and Swank's titanic force of will, Freedom Writers' unabashed earnestness proves unexpectedly powerful.

January 5, 2007 Full Review Source: AV Club
AV Club
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The movie benefits from an interesting subject and good acting, I just wish it were more focused and deep.

July 3, 2011 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com

A richly rewarding film experience that rises to the top of its genre.

January 4, 2008 Full Review Source: Spectrum (St. George, Utah)
Spectrum (St. George, Utah)

While it is, like its genre brethren, inspiring and uplifting, Freedom Writers glosses over so much material that it makes the process look too easy.

August 13, 2007 Full Review Source: Calgary Movies | Comment (1)
Calgary Movies

Ironically, the film features almost zero teaching. Despite much pedagogical posturing, it doesn't teach us much, either.

August 4, 2007 Full Review Source: Nick's Flick Picks | Comment (1)
Nick's Flick Picks

Worthwhile because of its honesty, because it tells a true story that's worth telling, and because Hilary Swank and company have done it so well.

July 16, 2007 Full Review Source: Apollo Guide
Apollo Guide

Is this film formulaic? Yes. Does it accomplish what it set out to do? Yes. ... It's certainly not a perfect movie but it does offer many pleasures.

July 14, 2007 Full Review Source: Murphy's Movie Reviews
Murphy's Movie Reviews

Swank's earthiness is key here, and she consistently rises above the story's cliches.

July 10, 2007 Full Review Source: DVD Review
DVD Review

The script won't win any stars for originality, it's all put across with enough sincerity to make the corn easy to swallow.

March 30, 2007 Full Review Source: thelondonpaper

Hilary Swank is all heart in this uplifting film about kids from the wrong side of the track who become inspired to learn and do the right thing.

March 16, 2007 Full Review Source: Urban Cinefile
Urban Cinefile

yet another feel-good teacher flick that will leave most audiences satisfied

March 7, 2007 Full Review

An Inspirational Teacher Movie that is moving, thought-provoking and succeeds in being genuinely inspiring.

March 1, 2007 Full Review Source: ViewLondon

This is moving stuff, thoughtfully handled and well performed.

February 27, 2007 Full Review Source: Sunday Mirror [UK]
Sunday Mirror [UK]

It may only deserve a C for achievement, but it ranks a B+ for effort.

February 27, 2007 Full Review Source: Total Film
Total Film

You'll be embarrassed, sad, happy then exhausted.

February 27, 2007 Full Review Source: Little White Lies
Little White Lies

Has its inspiring moments - especially given the true story - and some tense, dramatic scenes amid the speedy montages of confusing gang action.

February 27, 2007 Full Review Source:

Despite solid work from the engaging cast, there's nothing new here to distinguish Freedom Writers as anything beyond a C+.

February 27, 2007 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

While this film has a terrific story, and strong acting anchored by Swank's superb central performance, it's also a little slick and gimmicky

January 27, 2007 Full Review Source: Shadows on the Wall
Shadows on the Wall

It's a case of youthful enthusiasm vs. all sorts of cynicism and guess who wins?

January 20, 2007
Greenwich Village Gazette

The film may be inspired by a true story, but it's a mishmash of scenes we've seen before, and for a film about original teaching methods, the storyline is surprisingly derivative and predictable.

January 19, 2007 Full Review Source:

An inspiring drama about an idealistic teacher who breaks down the walls separating her students from each other and enables them to celebrate their unity in diversity.

January 16, 2007 Full Review Source: Spirituality and Practice
Spirituality and Practice

Audience Reviews for Freedom Writers

I think the book is better.
July 19, 2012

Super Reviewer

Yes it's corny, yes it's predictable, and yes these characters are as generic as ever, but that doesn't stop Freedom Writers from being extremely powerful, moving and inspirational. Hilary Swank does a great job in the lead here, but the unknown actors and actresses who play the Freedom Writers are the soul of the film; they are incredible. Apart from being predictable and square, this film had me crying and laughing at the same time, had me snickering and get angry at character that I disliked, and more than once made me want to jump and yell with joy. It's a must see film.
March 8, 2012
Raymond Wieser

Super Reviewer

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 "unteachable") in the inner-city, and realizing they have all been affected by crime, gangs, and/or violence in one way or another, she starts a project allowing them to express their thoughts on paper daily.

This, based on both a true story and the compiled diary of Ms. Gruwell and her students from six years before, was a good idea to translate onto the screen. Having not read the book yet, I cannot say whether this was factual by means of its source, or even as tear-jerking as the book was, but I can say that this was beyond simply decent.

The rap music played as the soundtrack of the film could have been better replaced by more dramatic music, and more often, if that, à la Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross's original soundtrack for THE SOCIAL NETWORK. Also, the hip-hip tone slightly undermines a few of the themes in the film, like those of anti-racism and anti-hate. Aside from that, this was a viewing of Hilary Swank's best performance yet, and it's one I would not mind giving another watch.
November 5, 2011

Super Reviewer

Inspirational... A must see!
June 23, 2011
Bethany Murphy

Super Reviewer

    1. Eva: I saw white men come into my home and take my father for no reason except because they feel like it! And because they can. And they can, because they're white. *sniff* So I hate white people on site.
    – Submitted by Jed G (2 years ago)
    1. Eva: Paco did it... Paco killed the guy.
    – Submitted by Sidney L (2 years ago)
View all quotes (2)

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