Director: Richard LaGravenese
Year Released: 2007
Liberal Guilt in the Age of No Child Left Behind. White Warrior Erin Gruwell - big, big, big on self-promotion - leads gang kids out of the cave and into the world of Knowledge and Understanding just like so many Amazing Teachers do in similar films: To Sir, With Love, Dangerous Minds, and so on. It's so obvious it's crude: everyone tells her she can't change them while she says she can ... and apparently did. It's a utopian story, not tied to reality, reinforcing the Bushian Great Lie that every child can go to college granted that every teacher is 'proficient.' One of the many problems with the film is making the administrators hostile to Gruwell's ambitious ideas: almost every administrator I know would be more than happy to let their doe-eyed young pups try to significantly alter the horny, distracted minds of its unsuccessful students. Further - and this is pure conjecture on my part - if Erin Gruwell was so defiant and successful in molding new minds, why didn't she stay in Woodrow Wilson H.S., prepared each year to take its fledgling freshman and do what she did with these Freedom Writers instead of pursuing a job in higher education and running for Congress? People in decent colleges don't read at a 5th grade level.