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Freedom Writers [Blu-ray] (2007)

Hilary Swank , Patrick Dempsey , Richard LaGravenese  |  PG-13 |  Blu-ray
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (549 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Hilary Swank, Patrick Dempsey, Scott Glenn, Imelda Staunton
  • Directors: Richard LaGravenese
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Blu-ray, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Dubbed: French, Spanish
  • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Paramount
  • DVD Release Date: June 3, 2008
  • Run Time: 123 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (549 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000OONQ8U
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #39,225 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Freedom Writers [Blu-ray]" on IMDb

Special Features

  • 1080p High Definition
  • Blu-ray 50
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Making ‘A Dream’
  • Freedom Writers Family
  • The Story Behind The Story

Editorial Reviews

Though the "inspirational teacher" theme may feel done to death, Freedom Writers succeeds because it emphasizes the students as much as the teacher. Erin Gruwell (Hilary Swank, Million Dollar Baby, Boys Don't Cry) comes to a southern California high school bubbling over with naive optimism, but quickly discovers that her unruly classroom isn't easily won over by her good intentions. After a few floundering attempts to connect with her students, Gruwell gives them the assignment of keeping journals about their own lives--an assignment that the class bites into with relish, which eventually bonds them together and pushes racial rivalries aside. This plotline has been made before, sometimes well, sometimes poorly; Freedom Writers, by drawing heavily from the published journals of the students--and thanks to a (mostly) unheroic script, direction that emphasizes individual characters over stereotypes, and rigorous performances from the whole cast--makes the story seem fresh and genuine. Swank does solid work, but the standouts are April L. Hernandez as a girl whose gang wants her to lie and send an innocent boy to jail and Imelda Staunton (Vera Drake) as a teacher who resents Gruwell's offbeat success. Also featuring Patrick Dempsey (Grey's Anatomy), Scott Glenn (The Right Stuff), and a plethora of strong young actors. --Bret Fetzer

Beyond Freedom Writers

More Inspirational Teacher Films on DVD

The Freedom Writers Diary

by Erin Gruwell

More DVDs Starring Hilary Swank

Stills from Freedom Writers (click for larger image)

Product Description

"Freedom Writers" is inspired by a true story and the diaries of real Long Beach teenagers after the LA riots during the worst outbreak of interracial gang warfare.Hilary Swank stars as Erin Gruwell whose passion to become a teacher is soon challenged by a group of Black Latino and Asian gangbangers who hate her even more than each other. When Erin begins to listen to them in a way no adult has ever done she begins to understand that for these kids getting through the day alive is enough -- they are not delinquents but teenagers fighting "a war of the streets" that began long before they were born.Erin gives them something they never had from a teacher before -- respect. For the first time these teens experience a hope that maybe they might show the world that their lives matter and they have something to say.Run Time: 122 minutesFormat: BLU-RAY DISC Genre: DRAMA Rating: PG - 13 UPC: 097361243917 Manufacturer No: 124391

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
71 of 77 people found the following review helpful
**A few spoilers in this review**

Amazon's has it all right in their comments on this underrated, wonderfully acted, and fair treatment of our current education system that all too often gives up on what it considers the "undesirables" present in every school, the teachers who think that they know it all (both villain and heroine in this film), and the kids who believe that they have no reason to even try to prove others wrong.

The dialogue is blisteringly realistic, sensitive, insightful, and painfully honest most of the time. In many ways there are no real villains in this film although there are two specific teachers who attempt to give Swank's character difficulty either because she is attempting to succeed where others have failed, or because she thinks she is better than others or has the key to her students' success if others would just get out of her way. It's easy to see the veteran teachers' resentment for Swank as Gruwell. She is brash, naive, overconfident, obsessive, and appears to want to outshine her colleagues although that really isn't her intent, but one can see how a veteran teacher would see her as a threat to their status which they feel, and rightly so to some degree, have earned. Simply because these older veteran teachers may not be as "on fire" as Gruwell, who is new to the profession, doesn't mean they aren't still dedicated. In their defense, Gruwell really does just dismiss their experience, expertise, and dedication to the education profession because they have become a bit more jaded by their life experiences in this profession. She does come off rather self-righteous at the wrong times such as when she's actually seeking help. Talk about ironic.
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38 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A new favourite - a very powerful, POWERFUL movie :-) February 6, 2008
I don't know about anyone else, but I went through a lot of tissues in this movie. Not because it's sad (although there are a few sad parts here and there), but because it's so moving and heart warming. It took me too long to get around to watching this and I'm sorry for that, but now that I've seen it, it's definately a new favourite of mine and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
It's based on fact and what a teacher, Erin Gruwell, does to turn around a class of kids who seem helpless. It's far better than Higher Learning or Dangerous Minds. It's got a fantastic cast in it and they all did such a great job. Hillary's character starts out a little niave because she thinks from the start that it's going to be a piece of cake to teach this class English. However, soon after they arrive at the first lesson, she sees it's going to be an uphill battle. A little on in the movie, after she sees a drawing someone drew of a black student, she begins to get them thinking about how these actions can take their toll, by refering to the way Jews were drawn in newspaper cartoons back in the beginning of the Nazi uprise. These kids have never heard of the Holocaust and she overtime, helps them see what Jews faced when the Nazi's took over Germany and other parts of Europe (she takes them to the Simon Weisenthal Museum of Tolorance) and she plays games with them where they divide into two sides of the room and come to the center of the room for each thing they have in common (such as whether they've lost someone they love in gang violence, or whether they have the same music taste). Soon they see that it doesn't matter if they are Black, White, Hispanic or Cambodian - they are all so similar in so many ways and they shouldn't let race divide them.
You HAVE to see this brilliant movie.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Splendid uplifting movie January 20, 2008
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
We loved this movie, it is a very inspiring story of a young teacher with difficult teenagers, it is very well acted and directed, and by the time it ends we are feeling moved, uplifted and with faith in the future of our children!
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best films I've seen in 2007 May 13, 2007
Hillary Swank plays the part of Erin Gruwell, a new teacher starting out in Long Beach, California teaching a freshman class of students that have suffered many difficulties in life so far. Each of them in the class has already been subjected to violence in school and in their communities and they also confront peer segregation in the form of cliques or `tribes' as described by one student.

Erin Gruwell, new to teaching and on unfamiliar ground, starts out by absorbing the abuse given by her students and eventually finds ways to break down the racial tension and communicate with them. She is able to accomplish this even with the school principal and department head of English are not supporting her methods or acknowledging her successes. On her own, Erin Gruwell works two extra part-time jobs to help pay for school books and other materials that she cannot get from her own administration. So much of her time is spent on bettering her students that even her marriage begins to deteriorate.

Beginning a new class project where everyone is to keep a journal and make daily entries, Erin Gruwell eventually reads the journals, with the approval of her students, and begins to connect with them even more in that she now understands the pain in their lives and hardships they have faced. This also drives her to become even more influential in their education and give them hope and inspiration in becoming what they never thought they could. The students in her class, some being the first in their families to ever graduate high school and then go to college, do just that. They eventually call themselves Freedom Writers and they also put their journal entries together to create the `Freedom Writers Diary' which was published in 1999.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Another movie about a teacher saving tough, hard to reach minority...
It's like another movie about "minority" students with a lot of street drama in their lives. They really are big toughs with street cred, or something. Shootin'. Read more
Published 51 minutes ago by shopper1
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 4 days ago by Charlie Meany
2.0 out of 5 stars Not real teaching
Oh god more "hero teacher " movies. Like most of these flicks, especially Stand and Deliver, when you look closely at the real story, they fall apart. Read more
Published 5 days ago by inner city teacher
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
A great movie
Published 6 days ago by Carolyn Morton
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Wonderful compliment to the book.
Published 9 days ago by Christina Folkins
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 10 days ago by Momo
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Feel Good Movie
Great story - very well acted by Hillary Swank.
Bases on a true story - i recommend this movie because it's about real people
Published 12 days ago by patrick a. sierra
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
A Must See movie!
Published 13 days ago by Will Rogers
5.0 out of 5 stars Great inspiring movie
I think that every parent, child or teacher should watch this movie. It is a great movie to show children and adults that all dreams are possible with some inspiration from others... Read more
Published 17 days ago by Melissa A. Miller
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspirational!!
A really fine movie....Good acting, good direction, good production.
Hilary Swank is special....supporting cast is also convincing...
Id you have a couple of hours.... Read more
Published 17 days ago by Jonny G
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