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USA & UK: Paramount Pictures
Cast: Hilary Swank, Patrick Dempsey, Imelda Staunton, Scott Glenn, April Lee Hernandez, Mario, Jason Finn, Hunter Parrish, Kristin Herrera, Jason Finn, Jacklyn Ngan, Sergio Montalvo, Deance Wyatt, Vanetta Smith, Gabriel Chavarria, Antonio Garcia
Director: Richard LaGravenese
Country: USA / Germany
USA & UK: 123 mins
USA Rated: PG-13 for violent content, some thematic material and language
UK Certificate: 12A contains one use of strong language and moderate violence
USA Release Date: 5 January 2007
UK Release Date: 2 March 2007
Erin Gruwell (Hilary Swank), a fresh-faced, idealistic 23 year-old, is ready to take on the world on her first day as a teacher at Wilson High School. Her class, a diverse group of racially charged teenagers from different walks of life - African Americans, Latinos, Asians, juvenile delinquents, gang members, and underprivileged students from poor neighborhoods - hope for nothing more than to make it through the day. On the surface, the only thing they share is their hatred for each other and the understanding that they are simply being warehoused in the educational system until they are old enough to disappear. Despite her students' obstinate refusal to participate during class, Erin tries various means to engage them on a daily basis.
But then ghetto reality steps in to focus the picture. A racially motivated gang shooting witnessed by a Latina gang member in Erin's class, and an ugly racial cartoon that Erin intercepts during class, become the most unwittingly dynamic teaching aids. They spark a transformation in the classroom, compel them to listen and force her to take off her idealistic blinders and take in the kids' survival stories of their undeclared war on the streets. Erin begins to connect with them.
Based on a true story, FREEDOM WRITERS is an inspirational tale and testimony to courage, hope and the human spirit's triumph over intolerance. Directed by Richard LaGravenese, who also wrote the screenplay based on the book The Freedom Writers Diary by the Freedom Writers with Erin Gruwell.