My unofficial storyline:
I don’t know how many times I’ve seen Freedom Writers. It’s one of those films that both stirs and breaks the heart. The story is about a young teacher who learns as much from her students as they learn from her. It starts with fear and racial hatred in the classroom and ends with change and acceptance by sharing personal stories and reaching out to a world far away and more than fifty years into the past, to the story of Anne Frank.
Hillary Swank portrays a brand-new teacher, Erin Gruwell, out of her element, but determined to make a difference.
“It’s 1994 in Long Beach, California. Idealistic Erin Gruwell is just starting her first teaching job, as freshman and sophomore English teacher at Woodrow Wilson High School, which, two years earlier, implemented a voluntary integration program. For many of the current teachers, integration has ruined the school, whose previously stellar academic standing has been depleted by many students who will be lucky to graduate or even to be literate. spite choosing the school on purpose because of its integration program,
Erin is unprepared for the nature of her classroom, whose students live by generations of strict moral codes of protecting their own at all cost. Many are in gangs and almost all know somebody that has been killed by gang violence. The Latinos hate the Cambodians who hate the blacks and so on. The only person the students hate more is Ms. Gruwell.
It isn’t until Erin holds an unsanctioned discussion about a recent drive-by shooting death that she fully begins to understand what she’s up against. And it isn’t until she provides an assignment of writing a daily journal – which will be not graded, and will remain unread by her unless they so choose – that the students begin to open up to her. As Erin tries harder and harder to get the resources not provided to teach properly (which often results in her needing to pay for them herself by working a second and third job), she seems to face greater resistance, especially from her colleagues, such as Margaret Campbell, her section head, who lives by regulations and sees such resources as a waste, and Brian Gelford, who will protect his “privileged” position of teaching the senior honors classes at all cost. Erin also finds that her teaching job is placing a strain on her marriage to Scott Casey, a man who seems to have lost his own idealistic way in life.” — Huggo
Young teacher Erin Gruwell (played by Hillary Swank) reached out to her students.
Official Trailer – imdb.com/video/vi463798553
One of my favorite scenes features Jason Finn as Marcus, meeting his mother as she returns from the grocery store and asking if he can move back home. This is a simple scene of acceptance and love between a mother and her son.
Interview: Jason Finn & April Hernandez Generic Junket, two real people who acted and experienced the changes of thoughts and understanding. – imdb.com/video/vi2326266137
Young teacher Erin Gruwell reached out to her students. She learned from them and they learned from her. It’s a fair trade.
A speaker, Hermine “Miep” Gies, was one of the Dutch citizens who defied the German Nazis of World War II and hid Anne Frank, her family and four other Dutch Jews in a warehouse attic.
Freedom Writers quote #1:
Miep Gies: “But even an ordinary secretary or a housewife or a teenager can, within their own small ways, turn on a small light in a dark room.”
Freedom Writers quote #2:
Marcus: “I’ve never had a hero before. But you are my hero.”
Miep Gies: “Oh, no. No, no, no, young man, no. I am not a hero. No. I did what I had to do, because it was the right thing to do. That is all.”
User review: #296
“You will NOT be disappointed! Great movie! I just saw an advanced screening, and was taken aback. I went into it not knowing a lot about what the movie was about, but expecting a “Dangerous Minds” Knock-off, but was surprised at how much I really loved this. It’s not like an award-winning film; however, it is definitely worth checking out. And, without a fear of losing my masculinity, I can honestly say that there were two, maybe three scenes that I had to bite my lip and try to not tear up… if you can watch this movie and not get misty eyed at least once there is something wrong. There were actually scenes where the packed theater clapped and cheered, and other times when everyone gasped at the same time.. it will keep you entertained and you will walk away glad you came to see it.”
Just as people enjoyed the film Freedom Writers, the efforts of the students, and the words of Anne Frank, we have a chance to share those feelings and dreams in 2022. Lakewood Playhouse continues its main stage 83rd Season with The Diary of Anne Frank, in a recent adaptation based on the original play. In this transcendently powerful new adaptation by Wendy Kesselman, Anne Frank emerges from history as a living, lyrical, intensely gifted young girl who confronts her rapidly changing life and the increasing horror of her time with astonishing honesty, wit, and determination. An impassioned drama about the lives of eight people hiding from the Nazis in a concealed storage attic, The Diary of Anne Frank captures the claustrophobic realities of their daily existence—their fears, their hopes, their laughter, their grief. This is a new story for a new generation.
(Peg) The first time I saw a production of Anne Frank, my family lived outside Bitburg AFB, Germany where my father, and thus, my family, were transferred. I was a junior at the base high school. When the play was presented, we had been there for about five months. The lead actress was Linda, a Jewish girl, petite, dark hair and eyes and passion in her heart. Her commitment to this production was palpable. Every word she uttered had absolute conviction to the truth. It had a profound impact on me because of her commitment to this story of humans deciding to eradicate a whole people from the earth. To this day, Linda is still one of my heroes.
Just as “The Diary of Anne Frank” captured the claustrophobic realities of daily existence with fears, hopes, laughter, and grief of the real Erin Grewell and her students, we have a chance to share and understand.
PERFORMANCE SCHEDULE OF LAKEWOOD PLAYHOUSE:
Friday, April 15, 22, 29, and May6 at 8:00pm;
Saturday, April 16, 23, 30, and May 7 at 8:00pm;
Sunday, April 17, 24, May 1 and 8 at 2:00pm.
For more information and tickets, please visit – lakewoodplayhouse.org/
“When I write I shall shake off all my cares. But I want to achieve more than that. I want to be useful and bring enjoyment to all people, even those I’ve never met. I want to go on living even after my death!” — Anne Frank