Freedom Writers ★★½ 2007 (PG-13)
Oh so earnest (yet affecting) dedicated teacher true story set in 1994. White-bread newbie Erin Gruwell (Swank) is unprepared for teaching freshman English to an ethnically diverse, underprivileged class at a Long Beach high school. In order to get their attention, Erin, inspired by “The Diary of Anne Frank,” gives her students journals to write about their own lives in their own raw vernacular. A collection of entries is eventually published as “The Freedom Writers Diary,” which continues to cause classroom/parental clashes for its eye-opening depictions of teen experience. Swank, complete with gleaming smile and pearls, is filled with can-do spirit while Dempsey is wasted as her neglected hubby. 123m/C DVD, Blu-ray Disc, HD DVD . US Hilary Swank, Patrick Dempsey, Scott Glenn, Imelda Staunton, John Benjamin Hickey, Pat Carroll, April Lee Hernandez, Deance Wyatt, Mario, Vanetta Smith; D: Richard LaGravenese; W: Richard LaGravenese; C: Jim Denault; M: Mark Isham.