Freedom Writers isÂ the story of Erin Gruwell, a high school teacher in Long Beach, California, who encouraged her class of "at-risk"Â students to overcome the gangs that divided them and the educational system that failed them. She encouraged themÂ to tell their stories in their own words viaÂ Â journals.Â The journals the students wroteÂ ultimately became the book The Freedom Writers Diary.Â
The film features an outstanding cast of young actors, many of whom grew up surrounded by gang violence and were able to draw upon their own experiences on the street to portray Gruwellâ€™s students with gritty authenticity. The movie also starsÂ Oscar winner Hilary Swank andÂ Grey's Anatomy Mc Dreamy, Patrick Dempsey, Scott Glenn (Training Day) and Imelda Staunton (Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix). This DVD is from Paramount Home Entertainment and can be found on Amazon and all major DVD retailers.
The FREEDOM WRITERS DVD includes feature-length commentary with director/writer Richard LaGravenese and Hilary Swank, deleted scenes, â€œMaking â€˜A Dreamâ€™â€, â€œFreedom Writers Familyâ€, â€œFreedom Writers: The Story Behind The Storyâ€ and a photo gallery.
Want to learn more about Freedom Writers? Check out these other spots on the web:
Photo courtesy of the Freedom Writers Foundation.
Check out my personal take on this movie and it's presentation as it has played with the parents, teachers and students at the "hypothetical" school in Long Beach, Calif on which Freedom Writers is based. This was posted on Mediabistro's FishbowlLA Blog. A couple of things to note: there is busing of students across the entire Long Beach Unified School District. A student can CHOOSE which school they go to-- either local or distant-- in the district. This "hypothetical" high school isÂ in the upper income area of the city which has bothÂ Â low income areas, a diverse population of Asians, Latinos, and African Americans who live in all areas of this third largest city in the state of California.Â While these students were feeling marginalized at that time, the entire Southern California region was feeling marginalized and fractionalized because of the riots that hit many areas -including Long Beach-- quite hard.Â While everyone needed to take a step back and reassess their personal situation as well as the one in the population in general, please don't accept the idea that this woman was the ONLY teacher in the entire district of 5 high schools of 4 thousand plus students at each school to reach out to their students. To do so would be to show disrepect to some amazing teachers at ALL the schools across the Southern California region-- not just Long Beach.