Sunday, February 04, 2007

FREEDOM WRITERS - earnest yet alarmingly crass

Wow, you used your library card?FREEDOM WRITERS has everyone's favourite under-dog, Hilary Swank, play an inspirational teacher in inner-city LA. Based on a true story, the movie nonetheless has a tired feel: another white middle class teacher (viz. Michelle Pfeiffer in DANGEROUS MINDS) reaching out to ethnic minority kids afflicted by gang violence. She does this by working extra jobs to take them on trips and buy them nice shiny new books. The mid-1990s hip-hop sound-track has a nice nostalgic vibe (remember when rappers rapped about life rather than champagne?) and Swank plays earnest like no other. But I couldn't help feeling a little scandalised by the parallel drawn between life in urban LA and life for persecuted Jews in Nazi-occupied Europe. Hollywood at its most earnest and yet also at its most crass.

FREEDOM WRITERS was released in the US in January and opens in the UK and Spain on March 2nd. It opens in the Netherlands, Austria, Denmark and Turkey on March 9th and in Belgium, France and Germany on March 15th. It opens in Australia on March 22nd, Singapore and Italy on March 30th and in Brazil, Norway and Sweden on May 18th and in Argentina on May 31st.

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