Great and Touching Movie “Freedom Writers”

“Freedom Writers”

            There are many movies that captivate the audience with action, suspense, and horror. Movies that take the audience to another world. Movies that allows the audience for that particular moment to travel on an adventure. Then there are movies that show us the hard truths of this world. Those movies have allowed many people to step back and look at a situation as a whole. To embrace moments in history that wouldn’t be known otherwise. Freedom Writers is one of those movies that hit home on a national level. This film takes place in 1994 During the integration of different races in school. This movie represents what life for kids was like in long beach, California after the Rodney King riots. The Freedom Writers is a true story of kids behind the doors of room 203 at Woodrow high school. The diaries they published open the eyes of a lot of Americans. The movie followed Freshman teacher Mrs. Gruwell. She soon learns that her first year of teaching will change her life. She started her career at Woodrow HS because they were implementing the new integration system in schools. She found out that the school was not implementing it for the benefits of the kids.  Because her father was a civil rights activists, She thought that taking on this task would make her father proud but he did not want her to waste her talents on kids that didn’t want to learn. She learns as she walks the halls that the honors classes were in much better shape in fact it was like going from a developed country to a third world country. Her first meeting with her class didn’t roll so well and the respect from the kids quite frankly there was none. The class ended with a fight. The second angle of this movie was taken from the students perspective as well. Mainly from a Latina named Ava. Her view showed the violence and separation between the races. She explains that the school was like a prison and described that it was a little nation of gangs. Ava later on in the story has a mishap with one of her class mates which leads to a decision to put an innocent man in prison, but anways Mrs. Gruwell found out that her nice and superficial approach to the kids was not going to work and she definitely stepped into their world. At first the students were really rebellious to her teaching style because they knew that the system is made for them to be disciplined and for them to fail. Her class consisted of mainly Blacks, and Hispanics, and Asians. In the movie it portrayed only one white person, but in actuality there were more. The only way Mrs. Gruwell was going to be able to teach; She had to learn and understand where the students were at mentally. One of the turning points in the story was when one of the students in the class drew a picture depicting a classmates stereotypical nature. His image displayed Jamals(The Classmate) big lips. Mrs. Gruwell got very upset and started to tell them about the biggest gang every to have lived on this earth. She told them of a gang that depicted jews with big noses and that this gang wanted to get rid of these jews. She told them that the gang wanted to be the superior race and they would kill anyone who stood in their way. As she is telling them the story the kids were excited and understood the feeling and agreed with this gangs intension. She then told the kids “That’s how you start a holocaust. The kids were baffled and confused about what she just said. She then posed a question to them and she asked “ Who here knows what the holocaust is?”. Nobody raised their hands except for the white kid. She then posed another question “Who here has ever been shot at?”. Everyone except for the white kid raised their hand. This part of the story was so emotional because these students have never heard of the biggest massacre in human history, but all of them have been shot at. This was a plot device for the whole reason for the story to continue. After, That school day she had to figure out why these students segregated themselves.  She then created a game that she would be able to show that the students are really not so different from each other. She put a long strip of tape on the ground and then asked the students a series of questions and if it applied to them, if they would step on it. In this instance of the movie she was representing their lines of segregation. At first there was tension in the classroom because they still put barriers around their race. As she kept asking the students questions they come to realize that the stuggles that they are having internally and externally are universal within their classmates. This was a crucial part for me in the story because they understood that they may be different in color, but they are the same in perspective. This was a major turning point in the move because the students that were introduced were almost and if not displayed delinquent behavior, but her loving and caring nature allowed the students to open up to the possibilities in a tranquil and unified life style. At this point of the story Mrs. Gruwell introduces the idea of keeping a diary. For many of the students it was a scary concept to keep something that has all of their thoughts, struggles and triumphs, but they trusted their teacher and the started writing about their daily struggles. As they continued through the semester their diaries started to grow and Mrs. Gruwell knew about all of their situations and she thought about how she can compare it to history. Thus, She introduced Anne frank’s diary. After reading the book she decides to take the freshman on a trip to a holocaust museum. Their eyes are really opened at this point in the story because they learn and talk to some of the victims of the holocaust. They saw that the victims never had a choice and were segregated by their beliefs and the color of their skin. The Freshman realized that they have a choice, that don’t have a gun up to their head. After the holocaust the movie goes into the second year of the freedom writers. The students have a new light to them. They are comfortable with each other and with Mrs. Gruwell. When they come into the classroom there is a table set up with bags of books and with cider. Mrs. Gruwell said they are going to give a toast. She explained that everything that has every stopped you at this point must disappear and never return and that all the struggles they have gone through are for nothing. One student reads from his diary and in the end everyone finds out that through the summer he had lost his house and that he fills that his home is there with them. This is such a touching moment because when Mrs. Gruwell first started everyone hated each other and now they are a big family. Throughout their Sophomore year they pull together a fund raiser to get a special holocaust victim who knew anne frank to come in and speak. While speaking one of the sub-characters who inspired the idea of the of bringing her in to speak raised his hand. The holocaust survivor asked “what is it?”.  He stood up and told her that she is his hero. She responded that she is no hero she was just doing what was right and that the Class were the heros. I loved this part in the movie because it really shows that above all things if you put your mind to something and you know it is the right thing to do there is nothing that can stop you. Once they returned to class Mrs. Gruwell had an idea. She told the kids that they were going to publish their diaries so that the world would know their struggles and that they were going to be a part of history. There is so much more to this story than I could ever describe. They shot this movie with intentions of it being very personal to the audience. Both visual and audio choices were almost harmonious together. This story had a backbone to it and in my opinion its why I can walk around being married to a black woman. Its sad sometimes how we can be so judgemental of a situation without knowing both sides first. We are very defensive beings and sometimes being afraid can cause so much destruction and chaos. I believe Freedom Writers displayed a hope that is rarely seen and that it has so much life to it. I give Freedom Writers a 10 out of 10. Open your hearts to the world not your eyes!!!!

Metal- Shot Setup

Image

Metal- Shot Setup

For some reason i cannot find my shot of my setup, but i will run through the setup through words (yeaaaaaa). the subject matter was a desk lamp and i shot this straight above. i lit it with 2 strobes as well as used bricks as my base. i lit one of my strobes through a light table and i also used a soft box for the other side of the lamp, but i bet you cant guess which one it is :). i shot this with my digital iso 100, 50mm prime lens, f11@125th.