Freedom Writers

Critics Consensus

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.



Total Count: 126


Audience Score

User Ratings: 293,418
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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.

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Hilary Swank
as Erin Gruwell
Patrick Dempsey
as Scott Casey
Imelda Staunton
as Margaret Campbell
as Andre
Robert Wisdom
as Dr. Carl John
Sergio Montalvo
as Alejandro
Jason Finn
as Marcus
John Benjamin Hickey
as Brian Gelford
Pat Carroll
as Miep Gies
Armand Jones
as Grant Rice
Ricardo Molina
as Eva's Father
Angela Alvarado
as Eva's Mother
Anh Tuan Nguyen
as Sindy's Boyfriend
Anh Nguyen
as Sindy's Boyfriend
Chil Kong
as Storeowner
Palma Lawrence Reed
as Andre's Mother
Liisa Cohen
as Brandy's Mother
Brian Bennett
as Brandy's Father
Dan Warner
as White Cop No. 1
Tim Halligan
as Principal Banning
Lisa Banes
as Karin Polachek
Giselle Bonilla
as Young Eva
Earl Williams
as Young Marcus
Angela Sargeant
as Marcus' Mother
Robin Skye
as PTA Mom
Juan García
as Defense Attorney
Larry Cahn
as Prosecutor
Sharaud Moore
as Hall Monitor
Abel Soto
as Gang Member
Randy Hall
as Cop #2
Carl Paoli
as Cop #3
Dominic Daniel
as Drug Dealer
Cody Chappel
as Bookstore Clerk
Renee Firestone
as Herself (Holocaust Survivor)
Eddie Ilam
as Himself (Holocaust Survivor)
Elisabeth Mann
as Herself (Holocaust Survivor)
Gloria Ungar
as Herself (Holocaust Survivor)
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News & Interviews for Freedom Writers

Critic Reviews for Freedom Writers

All Critics (126) | Top Critics (40)

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

    Feb 27, 2007 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • Has its inspiring moments - especially given the true story - and some tense, dramatic scenes amid the speedy montages of confusing gang action.

    Feb 27, 2007 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

    Anna Smith
    Top Critic
  • 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.

    Jan 11, 2007 | Rating: B | Full Review…
  • Square, sincere, and proud of it.

    Jan 10, 2007 | Rating: B- | Full Review…
  • 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.

    Jan 9, 2007
  • 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.

    Jan 9, 2007 | Rating: 2.5/4

Audience Reviews for Freedom Writers

  • Apr 06, 2015
    To a younger audience, the film's detailing of racial tension in Long Beach, USA is really quite hard-hitting, but to a more mature audience, Freedom Writers is a far more watered down account of racism and gang warfare, even sometimes stooping to "Step Up" levels of bittersweetness. I've still given it 3 stars out of 5 because whilst I feel it is inaccurate, the film was thoroughly enjoyable because of its young cast of talented unknowns and an extremely good performance from Hilary Swank with an insightful script to work with.
    Harry W Super Reviewer
  • Mar 08, 2012
    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.
    Raymond W Super Reviewer
  • Feb 26, 2012
    Edward S Super Reviewer
  • Sep 24, 2011
    An inspirational films that makes you cry.
    Sylvester K Super Reviewer

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