There is a lot of dramatic credibility attached to this film, which isn't warranted. Yes, Meryl Streep is the lead and she received an Oscar nomination for the role, but this film is less dramatic than much more soapy. This film falls into the sub-genre of "white woman saves inner city children" which also includes "Freedom Writers" and "Dangerous Minds," and overdone and quite manipulative genre that needs to be done away with. You will either find this true story enlightening and sweet hearted or overly dramatic, based on taste or being able to stomach racially motivated storylines. Though, in general, I find these kinds of films tedious and over the top, the last half hour did make me well up. Real life music teacher Roberta Guaspari is inspirational, and her story is at least treated with respect. It is also interesting to note this is the only film Wes Craven has directed that has nothing to do with horror or sci-fi, and for those unaware of his finesse, this is a great showcase of his talents. This is an entertaining film, if a little overdone in its execution.