Tonight, Nuala and I watched this incredible “feel good” film. Not sure what I was going into, as all Nuala described it as was “a teacher in a very gang based school where everyone’s fighting each other”, I didn’t expect to love it as much as I did. 15/10. Without a doubt, best movie I have seen in ages. Here’s why you need to watch Freedom Writers as soon as possible! Please note this post contains affiliate links. If you make a qualifying purchase through one of these links, I will be paid a small commission at no extra cost to you.
Based on a book called The Freedom Writers [affiliate link], the film followed new teacher Erin Gruwell (Hilary Swank) as she tried to teach English to a class of 13/14 year olds – many of them with the reading level of a 5 year old. The Freedom Writers film follows her initial struggles to gain their respect and shows you how a simple teacher reaching out to her pupils can seriously affect their willingness to learn.
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It was well acted by all the actors and actresses, with many now familiar faces. Well it was made in 2007! The soundtrack fits perfectly while helping set the tone. Going to have to look it up too. I’ve now ordered the book and it will arrive on Sunday apparently. That’s my Easter reading sorted!
What I personally loved about Freedom Writers was the message that if teachers actually care about their students, the students are more likely to progress and succeed. Many of the students have their problems at home as much as the problems in society as a whole. Their lessons learnt in the classroom transferred into everyday life – no longer were they left feeling that their education was useless and that no one cares for them. In fact, there’s even a teacher’s guide! It’s apparently a good bank of resources which are easily adaptable for other texts and topics for KS3. Used in conjunction with the Freedom Writers Diary, this is reportedly an invaluable resource for KS4&5.
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Freedom Writers – available on DVD from Amazon Prime here for just £8.98 [affiliate link] – is a must watch film. For teachers, parents, and children alike. In a time where we are learning to stand up for people who’s voices aren’t heard as frequently as they should be, this film is a must. There have been so many heartfelt movies about the importance of giving disadvantaged youth a chance that it’s easy to be cynical about yet another one. But this well-made, sharply performed film deserves a look. has a raw sensibility that stares down the test-score mentality in America’s education system, in which privileged students excel, while kids with more difficult backgrounds are “maintained” in the system for statistics and state funding, but not to actually educate them. As Gruwell goes way beyond the call to push these young people to open their minds and break the pattern, the film is genuinely inspirational.
All I ask is that you please please please give it a try. Blame me if you hate it. But definitely consider it.