Finally got a chance to watch this movie after sitting idle for a couple of years. A feel-good movie for my vacation.
This is a typical story of a woman English teacher (Hilary Swank) with an ambitious, idealistic enthusiasm who turned an English class of a neglected, integrated high school into a family-like camaraderie among the class members. They were the underclass fighting for survival on the street. Learning wasn’t the top of the agenda. Protecting their own kind is. Through the love of this teacher and her unusual teaching methods of field trips, writing journals, and debating, the students learned about the discrimination and the plight of Jewish people that they could relate to and the courage it took to go against the tide. Of course, all these took sacrifices from the teacher who worked multiple jobs and ended losing her marriage. Did she make an impact on most of the students? Sure she did. Was it worth it? Perhaps.
This is a good movie. There were a few movies like that before. The fact that movies are being made means in reality this kind of teacher is rare. Supporting more of the teachers who go the extra miles to help the under-privileged students is probably a better bet.