Hilary Swank, two Oscars to her credit, is good in this role. She requires the right role to shine and this one is good for her. She plays a new teacher whose first assignment is a high school freshman English class. Her first class, made up of members of about 4 different gangs, is one of the most difficult situations a new teacher can be in. She is naive and over eager, yet she succeeds.
Imelda Staunton, of "Vera Drake" fame, is marvelous as English Department head. She is the image of a teacher who has been in her job too long.
The "Freedom Writers" title refers to the collected and edited diary entries of the class members. The actors playing the students are good, and you care for their characters more and more as the story progresses.
I recommend it. Reviews are mixed.