The plot elements of the new movie "Freedom Writers," starring Hilary Swank, are familiar: young first-year teacher, high school with gang problems, low-achieving and uninterested students. But the movie, based on a true story, is really good, give or take some obvious product placement. (That would be you, Borders). Hilary Swank plays Erin Gruwell, a naive idealist who unites a class of misfits, and they end up saving themselves through writing. I love that. Books (including young-adult novels) play a central role, there's a department head so un-visionary that you want to hiss when she appears on screen, and amid the learning, there's a tiny bit of dancing. I liked this one a lot, much more than the fake-o "History Boys," which is also about a charismatic teacher and his students.