Tag: Patrick Dempsey

Freedom Writers

November 3rd, 2013 — 6:16pm


Freedom Writers- nf  We watched this film with our 12 year old granddaughter and 10 year old grandson. We all liked it and got caught up in the inspirational theme of the movie as we saw young people asserting themselves and making a difference. The screenplay is written by Richard LaGravenese who also directed the film. It is based on a true story about a newly graduated schoolteacher who is taking her first job at Wilson High School in Long Beach California in 1993 shortly after the riots in Los Angeles the previous year. The teacher is played by Academy Award winner Hilary Swank who is surrounded by a few veteran actors but mainly a cast of unknown young people who play high school freshmen (although they look a little older than that age) who are the first teaching assignment of the novice teacher. The students are from various factions in the community, Black, White, Hispanic, Asian with some, of course from various gangs. The high school had formerly been a high achieving school but since it was integrated with students from the various groups, it has mostly lost its academic standing. The school administration had little expectation for the students but the new teacher Ms. Gruell didn’t seem to get that message. However, she does have to struggle to figure out how to reach these students. She realizes that while many of them have had similar experiences they don’t have empathy or understanding for each other.  She also helps them learn about other people who have been terribly oppressed by introducing them to the facts of the Holocaust and the Civil Rights Movement. There are a few undercurrents and subplots that may not be entirely clear as well the story of the teacher’s personal life which includes a marriage falling apart as her husband (Patrick Dempsey) feels he is being neglected by his hard working wife who has to take on 3 jobs to get all the books and things for her students. Perhaps the most dramatic part of the film is the reenactment of the event where the students wrote letters to Miep Giess (Pat Carrol), the woman who hid Ann Frank and they actually raised money to bring her to the USA to meet and address them. (That scene will bring a few tears to your cheek) The teacher then had the students write about their feelings and experiences in a journal.  A compilation of these writing was then put into a book, which was published as The Freedom Writers Diary. The entire story reached national prominence when it was featured on the ABC TV shows Prime Time. Now it lives on to inspire new generations of teachers and students as well as others like us as we catch up with it on NetFlix. (2007)

Comment » | 3 Stars, Drama, History

Iron Jawed Angels

September 5th, 2010 — 10:55pm

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Iron Jawed Angels
– nf – Most of us did not learn very much in school about the women’s suffrage movement. This film, which was made in 2004, shows the period 1912 to 1920 and provides a gripping emotional depiction of this piece of history that changed the face of our country. It is the story of a group of young suffragettes led by Alice Paul who is played brilliantly by Hilary Swank and also features Francis O’Connor who is excellent in the part of Lucy Burns as well as roles by Angelica Huston, Lois Smith and Patrick Dempsey. It shows the brave unforgettable actions of these women as they organized and ultimately demonstrated in front of the White House with their banners in all kinds of weather. They were even taken to jail for peaceably protesting for their right to vote and were treated unbelievably badly, essentially as political prisoners on U.S. soil. It clearly demonstrated how President Woodrow Wilson’s own words which decried the lack of democracy in other parts of the world were pointed out as being applicable to most of the United States which was denying women the right to vote and control their own destiny. The team of screenwriters relied mostly on the true story based on books, speeches and newspapers of the time. Katja von Garneir does a wonderful job directing this movie and bringing the characters to life. You can not help but being caught up in the emotion as a new constitutional amendment is finally ratified by the required number of states. 2004

Comment » | 4 Stars, Drama

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