Freedom Writers is a 2007 drama film based on the book The Freedom Writers Diary: How a Teacher and 150 Teens Used Writing to Change Themselves and the World Around Them by teacher Erin Gruwell who wrote the story based on Woodrow Wilson Classical High School in Long Beach, California. It stars Hilary Swank, Scott Glenn, Imelda Staunton, Patrick Dempsey, and many others. It is directed by Richard LaGravenese and released by Paramount Pictures.
Plot. The movie is set in 1994-1995. Erin Gruwell (played by Swank) leaves her hometown, Newport Beach, to teach at Woodrow Wilson High School. She is excited and expectant, as the school is formerly well-performing and now has put an integration plan in place. To her dismay, she is assigned to a class of “at-risk” and “untouchables” high school students. They group themselves according to their races and most frequently break out and fight, forcing others to stop attending class. Not only does Erin find difficulty in her students, but also from her department head who refuses to let her teach with books as the students would only damage and lose them. Instead, she is told to focus on training them discipline and obedience.
One night, some of her students get into trouble. A Hispanic girl named Eva and her friend, a Cambodian refugee named Sindy, witness a shooting which incidentally kills Sindy’s boyfriend. It is Eva’s boyfriend who does the shooting. As a witness, Eva must testify at court, but she intends to falsify the crime to guard “her own kind”.