An idealistic teacher (Hilary Swank) in a Los Angeles high school believes that she can make a difference in the lives of her disadvantaged, racially divided inner city students. But she has to struggle against the school administration, that refuses to support her efforts, and must overcome the violence that touches the children every day. Also with Patrick Dempsey, Imelda Staunton, Scott Glenn and April Lee Hernandez. Directed by Richard LaGravenese. [2:02]
SEX/NUDITY 2 - A husband and wife kiss, and he kisses her neck and caresses her clothed buttocks. A husband and wife kiss.
► A young woman and a man kiss.
► We see a tattoo on a young woman's lower back. A young woman talks about not becoming pregnant while still a teenager.
► Young men tease a teacher while she writes on a chalkboard and her hips wiggle slightly.
VIOLENCE/GORE 7 - A man shoots at a young man who ducks and the bullet strikes another young man in the chest killing him (we see him lying in a puddle of blood).
► A young man is shot to death on a street (we hear the shots and see him lying on the ground with blood on his shirt).
► Two boys look at a gun, one holds it and shoots himself in the head (we see him slumped over and a patch of blood on the bench where he is sitting). A young woman and a young man are chased on a street, the young man pulls a gun on the two young men chasing them and they stop; then gunfire is exchanged.
► A young woman remembers her mother being beaten by a man (we see the woman being struck and see her bloody face), and then the man beats the young woman with a belt. A young woman is chased by three men who shove her against a fence and threaten her with a gun.
► A man is beaten almost to death (we see his bloody and bruised face). A girl is slapped and beaten by other girls (it's a gang initiation ritual) and we see her bloody and bruised face.
► People panic and run through a school and we see a huge fight outside, with young men and young women punching, kicking, etc. Two young men argue bitterly, shove each other and begin to fight in a classroom (another young man grabs for a gun he has hidden in his pants but does not use it).
► We see the Holocaust museum and see photos of concentration and death camps and people being held in them, we hear about children who did not survive, we see photos of people hanging, and we hear that a boy was killed when he got off a train at a concentration camp. Holocaust survivors tell stories about their experiences and what happened while they were in the concentration camps.
► A woman talks about soldiers raiding her home, and that the soldiers held a gun to her head, while looking for a young woman that she was hiding; she then heard the young woman screaming when they found her.
► We see newsreel footage of rioting in Los Angeles after the Rodney King verdict was announced in 1992, and we hear about the beating of Reginald Denny. A man is pushed to the floor and handcuffed by police.
► We see a boy in a jail cell with older men and he is frightened. A young man talks about being evicted from his home and living on the streets.
► A young man yells in a store after losing his money in an arcade game.
PROFANITY 5 - 1 F-word, 1 sexual reference, 10 scatological terms, 11 anatomical terms, 12 mild obscenities, 1 derogatory term for African-Americans, 1 religious profanity, 3 religious exclamations. [profanity glossary]
SUBSTANCE USE - People drink wine with dinner in a few scenes.
DISCUSSION TOPICS - Race, gang violence, hatred, enthusiasm, education, opportunities, protecting your own, respect, dying for your own, dying for respect, change, forgiveness, teenage pregnancy, eviction, homelessness, hope, family, freedom, abuse, war, life expectancy of a gang member, tribal mentality, integration, assumption of guilt, Anne Frank, oppression, divorce, chaos, suffering, envy, admiration, chances, choices, injustice in the justice system, incarceration, refugee camps, drugs, death of friends and family members, success, experience, the Holocaust.
MESSAGE - We can each influence the events of our lives and we can each be heroes. Idealism works.