Freedom Writers is one of those movies about an idealistic but strong-willed teacher who transforms a chaotic class of hardened inner city youths. The movie is a little too slick and polished for its own good, but its positive, uplifting moral messages and interesting characters and situations echo the good qualities of such true classics as Blackboard Jungle and Stand and Deliver.
Based on a true story, the movie stars Hillary Swank as Erin Gruwell, a young teacher who accepts a position teaching freshman and sophomore English at Woodrow Wilson High School in Long Beach, Calif. It's two years after the Los Angeles riots in 1992, and Mrs. Gruwell is having trouble relating to her mixed freshman class of Hispanics, blacks, Asians, and one white guy. The white guy just wants to leave, and the Hispanics, blacks, and Asians have taken their gang warfare from the streets into the classroom. They aren't interested in her earnest attempts to discuss Homer, the Greek poet, or teach proper grammar.
When one Hispanic student draws a racist picture of another student, Mrs. Gruwell angrily starts telling them about the horrors of racism through the historical prism of National Socialist Germany and its bigotry and genocide against the Jews. Adolf Hitler's "gang" puts your gangs to shame, she tells her students. She realizes, however, that only one of the students knows anything about the Holocaust at all. So, she decides to rebuke their hatred of one another by teaching them about the Holocaust, having them read The Diary of Anne Frank and write about their own experiences in a daily journal. Slowly, the students start to change, but Mrs. Gruwell's efforts generate conflict with the backward thinking of her department head and with her husband, who just wants to forget about the outside world when he is home.
If Freedom Writers is a little too slick, it still contains enough heartfelt, provocative moments to become the first really good, entertaining movie of 2007 to be released. Though the movie's emphasis on the efforts of a public school teacher is mostly secular and, hence, somewhat Romantic (see the note below), the movie keeps returning to moral issues. Do the right thing, end the murderous violence, treat others with kindness and respect, and stop breaking up into hateful little tribes of angry racists, the movie repeatedly teaches. Thus, the focus of Freedom Writers is on positive moral values. This focus, which also strongly rebukes racism and inner city gang activity, is not only emotionally powerful and intellectually stimulating; it is also uplifting and entertaining. One of the most encouraging messages was the fact that the students gained knowledge about the truth and higher moral values, and then applied what they learned to their own lives and the people around them. This is exactly what happens when we place our faith in Jesus Christ, learn about His Way, Truth and Life in the Bible (John 14:6) and apply that faith, knowledge, hope, and, ultimately, love (1 Cor. 13:1 through 1 Cor. 14:1), through the renewing of our spirits by the power of the Holy Spirit (Romans 12:2 and Galatians 5:22-26).
Finally, although Freedom Writers is slightly liberal and (more strongly) secular in its approach, it is not so offensively liberal or secular that a conservative or a Bible-believing Jew or Christian couldn't enjoy the movie and its messages. (In fact, today's average left-leaning liberal and atheist probably will think the movie doesn't go far enough at all). What is more offensive is the movie's inclusion of too much foul language, but the foul language lessens as the teacher transforms her students for the better, morally speaking as well as psychologically speaking.
Editor's Note: Romanticism teaches that Man is essentially good and noble, and civilization (by which Rousseau, the “father” of Romanticism, meant Christianity) corrupts man. Man is controlled by his “heart” and emotions, not by his intellect or logical mind, and education (usually divorced from God or gods and God's transcendent moral law) can transform Man, as well as his society, for the "better." Paganism and mob rule are related to Romanticism, though Romanticism is more consistent and avoids totemism. Romanticism is not related to the idea of romance, but is an idealistic worldview.
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Analysis of Freedom Writers Essay
1457 Words6 Pages
Freedom Writers- Theme Essay:
The film Freedom Writers directed by Richard La Gravenese is an American film based on the story of a dedicated and idealistic teacher named Erin Gruwell, who inspires and teaches her class of belligerent students that there is hope for a life outside gang violence and death. Through unconventional teaching methods and devotion, Erin eventually teaches her pupils to appreciate and desire a proper education. The film itself inquiries into several concepts regarding significant and polemical matters, such as: acceptance, racial conflict, bravery, trust and respect. Perhaps one of the more concentrated concepts of the film, which is not listed above, is the importance and worth of education. This notion is…show more content…
Erin’s view seems to be that if enough effort is put into educating students they will not revert back to crime in later years. Thing strong opinion contrasts considerably with the view of Margaret, who shows woe when commenting on voluntary integration. Margaret seems wary when noticing Erin’s overwhelming optimism towards her troublesome students; students Margaret considers to be intractable. Margaret goes on to warn Erin not to wear her pearl necklace to class but despite this warning, Erin wears it around the school constantly. This symbolizes the trust Erin has in her students and her abilities to teach her students right from wrong. This is an example of the film technique of specific dialogue which was used in the film.
This concept is expanded later when Erin requests that Margaret give the children in her class proper books and resources. Her request is met with an apathetic response that due to the nature of the children in her class, the students would have to use the inexpensive booklets they were accustomed to. In reaction to this, Erin takes on two more occupations in order to finance the expenses of correct books herself. This action shows us the high regard Erin has for proper pedagogical material and for education in general. Margaret, on the other hand, does not consider that the children may benefit from utilising proper books if given the chance and that giving them booklets can be interpreted as a degrading act.