Freedom Writers - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Freedom Writers Reviews

Top Critic
Joshua Rothkopf
Time Out
February 3, 2007
Full Review | Original Score: 1/6
Top Critic
Peter Rainer
Christian Science Monitor
January 11, 2007
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.
Full Review | Original Score: B
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Lisa Schwarzbaum
Entertainment Weekly
January 10, 2007
Square, sincere, and proud of it.
Full Review | Original Score: B-
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Rob Nelson
Village Voice
January 9, 2007
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.
Top Critic
Peter Travers
Rolling Stone
January 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.
| Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Tom Charity
CNN.com
January 6, 2007
Freedom Writers is another exceptional teacher scenario not so different from the norm.
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Nathan Rabin
AV Club
January 5, 2007
Thanks to LaGravenese's empathetic writing and direction, and Swank's titanic force of will, Freedom Writers' unabashed earnestness proves unexpectedly powerful.
Full Review | Original Score: B
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Chris Vognar
Dallas Morning News
January 5, 2007
It's not a great movie, but at-risk teens could do a lot worse.
Full Review | Original Score: B
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Geoff Pevere
Toronto Star
January 5, 2007
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.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
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Moira MacDonald
Seattle Times
January 5, 2007
It's a truly inspiring story; pity the movie doesn't live up to it.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
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Ruthe Stein
San Francisco Chronicle
January 5, 2007
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.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Roger Moore
Orlando Sentinel
January 5, 2007
An old-fashioned great-teacher-turns-bad-students-into-scholars story that ranks up there with Stand and Deliver.
| Original Score: 4/5
Top Critic
Stephen Whitty
Newark Star-Ledger
January 5, 2007
An unashamed heart-tugger, Freedom Writers is based on the true story of Erin Gruwell, a teacher so full of gee-whiz decency she can only be played by Hilary Swank.
| Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Kyle Smith
New York Post
January 5, 2007
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.
| Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Jack Mathews
New York Daily News
January 5, 2007
An educational fantasy that happens to be mostly true.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Connie Ogle
Miami Herald
January 5, 2007
Never quite succeeds as anything more than Dangerous Minds Redux.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
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Bruce Westbrook
Houston Chronicle
January 5, 2007
This film fails to earn what Erin Gruwell earned in real life: credibility.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
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Rick Groen
Globe and Mail
January 5, 2007
Freedom Writers is a tribute to individualism wrapped in the most conformist of packages, one of those pictures where the message of the tale is flatly contradicted by the manner of the telling.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Top Critic
Tom Long
Detroit News
January 5, 2007
There's a straight-ahead spirit to Freedom Writers that lifts it above its too-many peers in the 'troubled youth' category of films.
Full Review | Original Score: B
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Terry Lawson
Detroit Free Press
January 5, 2007
What is profoundly different about this based-on-fact film is that although we leave the theater wishing there were more teachers as devoted as the one depicted here.
| Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Robert Denerstein
Denver Rocky Mountain News
January 5, 2007
Freedom Writers gradually finds its place in the cinematic classroom, telling a moving story and boasting a fine performance from Hilary Swank.
| Original Score: B
Top Critic
Teresa Budasi
Chicago Sun-Times
January 5, 2007
Freedom Writers, which has a lot to say about education and the flaws in the American public-school system, gets high marks -- for effort and for merit.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Ty Burr
Boston Globe
January 5, 2007
The kids' individual triumphs seem satisfyingly hard-won.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Claudia Puig
USA Today
January 4, 2007
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.
| Original Score: 2/4
Top Critic
Kevin Crust
Los Angeles Times
January 4, 2007
Swank shows that in the right role her unusually disarming talent can elevate routine material.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Top Critic
Manohla Dargis
New York Times
January 4, 2007
In Freedom Writers Hilary Swank uses neediness to fine effect in a film with a strong emotional tug and smartly laid foundation.
| Original Score: 3.5/5
Top Critic
Bill Muller
Arizona Republic
January 4, 2007
Try as they might, the kids in Freedom Writers can't break free from Hollywood formula.
| Original Score: 2.5/5
Top Critic
Desson Thomson
Washington Post
January 4, 2007
Offers a sort of Chinese food poignancy, the kind that may seem satisfying at the time but ultimately leaves us hungering for more, for something authentic. Maybe that's why we keep coming back.
Top Critic
John Anderson
Newsday
January 4, 2007
Freedom Writers takes plenty of shots at the system, too, and makes the quite righteous statement that only through individual effort does anything wrong ever really get changed.
| Original Score: 35/4
Top Critic
Jeff Strickler
Minneapolis Star Tribune
January 4, 2007
Sure, we've been here and seen all of this before. But when it's this well done, we thoroughly enjoy seeing it again.
| Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Scott Foundas
L.A. Weekly
January 4, 2007
In the hands of writer-director Richard LaGravenese, Freedom Writers turns out to be a superb piece of mainstream entertainment.
Top Critic
Michael Wilmington
Chicago Tribune
January 4, 2007
Hilary Swank gives a powerhouse performance as a maverick high school teacher in Freedom Writers, an often gripping and sometimes even inspiring film.
| Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
J. R. Jones
Chicago Reader
January 4, 2007
LaGravenese has incorporated some of the real students' piercingly honest diary entries and rounded up an engaging cast of unknowns and young actors (April Hernandez, Kristin Herrera, Hunter Parrish) to channel their anger and hopelessness.
Top Critic
Eleanor Ringel Gillespie
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
January 4, 2007
[Swank] makes Erin a very specific person, a woman who risks everything else in her life for these kids, whether it's taking two extra jobs or charming the school superintendent with her wide smile and boundless energy.
| Original Score: B
Top Critic
David Germain
Associated Press
January 4, 2007
Despite occasional moments of inspiration, Freedom Writers simplistically focuses on maudlin highlights and glosses over the obstacles to rallying a dangerously disparate group of youths more accustomed to loathe than trust one another.
Top Critic
Kirk Honeycutt
Hollywood Reporter
January 4, 2007
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.
Top Critic
John Anderson
Variety
January 4, 2007
Although Freedom Writers is the latest in a long line of saint-saves-students stories, it takes the bold approach of being earnest, honest and unafraid to be called naive. As a result, it's extremely affecting.
Top Critic
James Berardinelli
ReelViews
January 2, 2007
For those who see it, the movie has a chance to connect. Freedom Writers is superior to what film-goers typically expect from an early January release.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4