Home Movie Vault Disc Vault Coming Soon Join Our Mailing List Local Scene Articles About Us Contest Soundtrack Books eStore


Genre: Drama
Starring: Hilary Swank, Imelda Staunton, Patrick Dempsey, Scott Glenn, Mario, April L. Hernandez
Director: Richard LaGravenese
Rating: PG
Year Made: 2007




- Audio Commentary with Richard LaGravenese & Hilary Swank
- Deleted Scenes
- Making 'A Dream'
- Freedom Writers Family
- Theatrical Trailer
- Freedom Writers: The Story Behind The Story
- Photo Gallery



Languages: English/Thai
Subtitles: English/Thai
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1
Running Time: 2 hrs 2 mins
Region Code: 3
Distributor: Berjaya HVN




Two-time Oscar- winner Hilary Swank stars in this gripping story of inner-city kids raised on drive-by shootings and hard-core attitude - and the teacher who gives them the one thing they need most: a voice of their own. Dropped into the free-fire zone of a school torn by violence and racial tension, teacher Erin Gruwell battles an uncaring system in a fight to make the classroom matter in her students' lives. Now, telling their own stories and hearing the stories of others, a group of supposedly "unteachable" teens will discover the power of tolerance, reclaim their shattered lives and change their world.


Yet another inspirational tale based on a true story. Yet another movie exploring racism and violence in America. Yet another story of how an idealistic new teacher enters a difficult classroom to transform the juvenile delinquents. We have seen countless of these formulaic movies, so why do we need to sit through another one?

Because we are human, and we feel for these stirringly rousing tales of people overcoming odds to find light at the end of the tunnel. And of course, because this Richard LaGravenese-directed movie stars Oscar winner Hilary Swank and a very likeable cast of unknowns.

Based on Erin Gruwell’s book “The Freedom Writers Diary: How a Teacher and 150 Teens Used Writing to Change Themselves and the World Around Them”, Swank portrays Gruwell, who attempted to make a difference in a group of problematic student’s lives. Along the way, these kids learnt about tolerance, applied practical skills in life and went on to pursue further education after high school.

The nobility of Gruwell’s character is evident in how she continuously spurred the students on despite initial mocking rejections, external administration pressures and her own personal struggle to go on. Swank effortlessly portrays these emotions, which makes the 122-minute movie easy to sit through. Supported by Imelda Staunton’s uncaring head mistress (after seeing her in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, we can’t help but think that this veteran actress is spot-on playing bitchy characters) and Patrick Dempsey’s affective husband, the movie scores on a dramatic level.

But the real stars are the students. Whether it’s April L. Hernandez’s daughter figure who is torn between filial piety and telling the truth, Gabriel Chavarria’s quiet but angry Hispanic boy, or Hunter Parrish’s misunderstood white student, we find ourselves rooting for each and every of their stories. The montage where their personal tales are being narrated easily makes for one of the most moving sequences we have seen.

A favourite moment in the movie is when one of the girls confronts Gruwell, questioning her why she didn’t warn her of Anne Frank’s death in the book she was told to read. For someone to feel so much for a book, we can see how much impact Gruwell has on these students. And considering that these events are real, one definitely cannot underestimate the power of an effective education system.


This Code 3 DVD contains an “Audio Commentary with Richard LaGravenese and Hilary Swank”, where the director and the Oscar winner talk about how thrilled they are to have Staunton on board. Incidentally, when they were recording this commentary, Swank has not seen this version of the film, and genuinely sounds pleasantly surprised at many of the scenes.

There are 11 minutes of “Deleted Scenes” which include four sequences that were removed from the final version of the movie. One of them features the students watching Steven Spielberg’s Schindler’s List to learn more about the Holocaust.

The five-minute “Making a Dream” focuses on the use of hip-hop music in the movie’s soundtracks. Musicians Common and will.i.am (from Black Eyed Peas) talk about the associations between hip-hop and Gandhi. Interesting.

“Freedom Writers Family” is a 19-minute featurette which features the cast and the real Gruwell talking about how the true story of the Freedom Writers have inspired them. Besides the usual moving interviews, there are lighter moments where Gruwell banter about the thrill of having Swank playing her on the big screen.

“Freedom Writers: The Story Behind the Story” is an 11-minute featurette which introduces us to the book’s origins. Although this is somewhat overlapping with the earlier clip, one can never get enough of inspiration stuff, right?

Also, check out “Photo Gallery” and “Theatrical Trailer”, “Photo Gallery” which rounds up the palette of bonus features on the disc.


The disc’s visual transfer makes the ghettos and streets look grittily good, and there are audio options of English and Thai Dolby Digital 5.1.



Review by John Li


. Freedom Writers (Movie Review)

. Freedom Writers (Soundtrack Review)

. Freedom Writers (Book Review)

Other titles from HVN Berjaya:

. Shooter

. Hot Fuzz

. Charlotte's Web

. The Good Shepherd

. Dreamgirls

. Smokin Aces

. Catch A Fire

. Man Of The Year

. Napoleon Dynamite

. Flushed Away

. Coach Carter

. Children Of Men

. Barnyard

. World Trade Centre

. Accepted

. Nacho Libre

. Stay Alive

. Miami Vice

. United 93

. You, Me and Dupree

. M:I:3

. Over The Hedge

. The Break-Up

. Curious George

. American Dreamz

. Bring It On All Or Nothing

. Aeon Flux

. Inside Man

. Elizabethtown

. Spongebob Squarepants Movie

. Four Brothers

. War Of The Worlds

. Munich

. Two for the Money

. King Kong

. American Pie: Band Camp

. Surviving Christmas

. Perfect Man, The

. Madagascar


This review is made possible with the kind support from HVN Berjaya


DISCLAIMER: Images, Textual, Copyrights and trademarks for the film and related entertainment properties mentioned
herein are held by their respective owners and are solely for the promotional purposes of said properties.
All other logo and design Copyright©2004- , movieXclusive.com™
All Rights Reserved.