Fast & Furious 6
The Hangover Part III
Erin herself is so unbelievably saintly -- and her fellow teachers so snivellingly evil -- that she's impossible to believe as anything more than an inspiration-bot.
| Original Score: 2/5
While the makers of Freedom Writers may have kept to the facts, they neglected to keep it real.
| Original Score: 81/100
A movie you've seen plenty of times before, but never mind.
| Original Score: 2.5/4
Swank, who exec produced the film, marches through the story with a curiously inappropriate grin on her face. No teacher in America could possibly smile this often.
A white teacher takes on a classroom full of nonwhite kids in Freedom Writers and proves that old adage: The perkier they are, the harder they fall.
| Original Score: 2/4
Too preachy, too many tears.
The film mixes unbearably hokey "my badness" material with something I didn't expect from a picture this threadbare: sensitivity.
| Original Score: C
At times, Freedom Writers invokes genuine emotions, but this derivative teacher-inspires-troubled-kids movie mostly just pries your eyes open and jerks the tears out.
One teacher can make a difference in a troubled student's life. I learned this from To Sir, with Love, Dangerous Minds and Van Halen's Hot for Teacher video.
LaGravenese ("The Horse Whisperer") has a tendency to sanitize every scene, and when he hits the audience's emotional sweet spot and a few tears begin to flow, you have the feeling that the release is unjustified.
The story feels like a rehash of movies we've seen, such as Stand and Deliver, Dangerous Minds and Take the Lead. If Swank's character weren't so saintly, the story might be more convincing.
Ironically, the film features almost zero teaching. Despite much pedagogical posturing, it doesn't teach us much, either.
| Original Score: C-
Like the troubled kids, [Freedom Writers] has the potential to succeed with a little work.
Doesn't add anything new to the formula, no matter how much of a hero Erin truly has become.
| Original Score: 1.5/4
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.
Try as they might, the kids in Freedom Writers can't break free from Hollywood formula.
| Original Score: 2.5/5
Freedom Writers confounds its own claims to veracity by coming across as a veritable textbook in itself -- a textbook of earnest, liberal, white-woman-in-the-blackboard jungle clichés.
Freedom Writers is another exceptional teacher scenario not so different from the norm.
The only aspect of these flicks that's changed since the days of The Blackboard Jungle is that the leads have gotten prettier...and whiter.
Gee whiz, if Swank taught in the typical American school, there'd be no child left behind. They'd all be polishing apples and asking for homework.