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|Index||67 reviews in total|
22 out of 28 people found the following review useful:
One of the most inspiring movies i've seen...., 16 March 2005
I recently rented this movie because I am a huge Morgan Freeman fan,
and I was amazed at how inspiring it was. Freeman is truly amazing in
this movie. He is perfect for this strong part of principal at Eastside
High. His disciplined yet loving authority was fun to watch. Also in
the cast, Mr Darnell(Michael Beach) and Dr. Frank Napier(Robert
Guillaume) along with Joe Clark(Morgan Freeman) were probably the most
dominant actors. There was also a great supporting cast as listed
above. Mayor Don Bottman(Alan North) played the perfect power hungry
politician for this movie.
I would recommend this movie to anyone out there. I truly believe it belongs in the top 250.
26 out of 37 people found the following review useful:
Morgan Freeman at his best, 27 May 2002
Author: Jerry Smith from USA
Morgan Freeman must be at his highest potential in this drama because he is
excellent. He is excellent as Joe Clark, a principal at a high school who
is trying to shape up his school and prepare them. He is wonderful as Joe
Clark and he fills his character with so much heart that it is
unbelieveable. He proved once again that he knows how to act and he should
have won an oscar for his role. All of the actors and actresses are
in this. The direction and everything else is perfectly brought out.
Overall this movie has minor bits but everything else is perfect. Rating 10.5 out of 10. (Best Acting in a Movie)
13 out of 15 people found the following review useful:
strong acting helps overcome the familiarity of the material, 12 March 2007
Freeman is perfectly cast as Joe Clark, a newly appointed principal at a deteriorating, gang-ridden school who gets through to his students with a tough, opinionated, no-nonsense approach to the pursuit of academic excellence. The odds are stacked against him as the education board threatens to shut down Eastside High School, but with his burning desire, devoted staff and administration, and some bright students who actually want to succeed, he rallies them for what will be the final chance for the school to remain open. Based on a true story the premise is familiar and the script has its ups and downs, but it's meaningful and acted with strength and conviction, especially Freeman who is nothing short of superb. ***
9 out of 9 people found the following review useful:
Despite a shaky script, Morgan Freeman gives a terrific performance in an intense, challenging role, 24 July 2007
Author: ca_dale from Canada
Lean on Me is based around the experiences of Joe Clark (Morgan
Freeman), who becomes the principal of a destitute New Jersey high
school plagued with violence, drugs, and abysmal academic performance.
Clark is given the daunting task of bringing student's test scores up
to the minimum acceptable level within one school year or the school
will be taken over by the state.
Clark is fiercely strict and demanding towards both his students and teachers. This makes him the target of countless parents, board members, civil servants, and other teachers determined to bring him and his radical new style down. Despite outside resistance Clark becomes a pillar of hope for numerous students inspired by his harsh but ultimately uplifting demands for disciple, self betterment, and loyalty to their school and educational achievement.
What sets Lean on Me apart from numerous other sentimental inspirational flicks is the unconventional style of Clark and Morgan Freeman's masterful portrayal of him. Yes this is the drill sergeant of miracle workers if ever there was one. From tone to mannerisms Joe Clark is given a distinctive ambiance, Morgan Freemen IS the dominating force behind this entire film.
And this is where the film stumbles somewhat. None of the supporting characters are given enough development to really set them apart as individuals. The closest we get is with a bright young girl trying her best to succeed at school despite numerous domestic problems at home. She is won over by Clark almost immediately coming to view him as a mentor/father figure. The problem is that her subplot like the others becomes neglected in the latter half of the film and is never given enough meaningful resolution to make the final scenes believable. Its like going from point A to point C while ignoring B.
I also question the wisdom in using an imaginary plot point (the supposed school take over) and exaggerating the level of the student's academic improvement. It cheapens the genuine accomplishments of the school and clashes with the hard-edged momentum of Joe Clark. The story is worthy in of itself and didn't benefit from being exaggerated for dramatics.
Lean on Me clearly could have been much more than what it is. But faults aside I would still highly recommend it to see Freeman's Oscar worthy performance.
12 out of 16 people found the following review useful:
'Lean on Me' doesn't need any helping hand, 3 January 2003
Author: Jerry Jones from United States
Starring: Morgan Freeman, Beverly Todd, and Robert Guillaume.
A man is assigned principle of a broken-down inner-city school. Nobody thinks he will last there. But, Joe isn't going to take that and will try his best to improve that school.
This movie should've gotten Academy Award nods. Freeman's performance alone was unbelieveable. It should've been nominated for Actor and Picture.
Overall the movie is a fantastic film and shows the true story of Joe Clark.
6 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
shape up or ship out, 7 February 2003
Author: IrockGswift (IrockGswift@aol.com) from east orange, new jersey
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This have to be one Morgan Freeman's better movie ever. The way he played principal Joe Clark was excellent. A rebellious student body who's more interested in making drug sells and fashion statements than their studies. But when Joe Clark returns to school as principal he maintain control of the students and the staff members as well. First he cleaned up the school by getting rid of the drug dealers and those who didn't care about learning. Lectured the faculty staff by telling them the reason why the students are failing is because they fail to see if they're learning. Joe shows tough love to students who plan to stay there and further their education. Being that the school is placed in one of the worst neighborhoods in North Jersey, Joe's goal was to keep the students and the staff members focus on passing the basic skills test. Although he's demands were extreme and interfered with the law,he still accomplished what he wanted. That is to make the students feel good about themself by having self-respect,a sense of morality,and continue their education so they can have a future with various opportunities.
9 out of 13 people found the following review useful:
A Wonderful and Inspiring Film!, 12 December 2004
Author: Rebecca Kotraba from Severn, Maryland
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
"Lean On Me" is film about taking risks, believing in change, and
following your inner strength. The greatest compliment I ever received
was that I was like the main character, Joe Clark. Clark (played
outstandingly by Morgan Freeman) is appointed the principal of a
"failing" inner city school. He comes in full-blazing to try and change
the school. He focuses on raising the achievement tests score of the
students. The character of Clark is not a man without fault. He is
portrayed as a strong and energetic individual who sometimes hurts the
feelings of others due to his lack of finesse when dealing with other
He is a man who doesn't apologize for what he does, mistake or not.
This film shows the audience the plight of the inner city during the 1980's. Many of the issues then, still ring true in our school today.
The other characters in the film are also portrayed by fine dramatic performances. From the music teacher, to the Asst. Princpal characters , all of them show believability and a multifacted dynamic to each personailty.
The only flaw I see in this film is its failure to provide a true "ending" to the story. The ended is depicted as the students gaining passing grades for their state assessments. However, as the story is really about Joe Clark, it would have been nice to know what happened to him.
I recommend this film to everyone, as its message can scope many areas. Teachers and those in the education field, especially supervisors, might especially advantage from watching this film.
4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
the saga of Crazy Joe, and a superb lead performance, 5 August 2008
Author: MisterWhiplash from United States
I wouldn't recommend Lean on Me anywhere near as much if it had another
actor in the lead. Morgan Freeman owns the role of Principal Joe Clark
so well that it might just be, over-the-top bits and all, one of his
most commanding screen performances. It's such a rich (if not complex)
part to play, as the one guy who comes in like a sheriff in the
clueless small old-west town, that you need someone who can rule the
screen even in those little moments when (and they're not many in this
case) the actor doesn't have much to do alongside another actor.
Freeman is so good and scene stealing and all those wonderful things we
love him for that he makes one forget that the film he's in is only
'alright' at best and at worst is preachy and confused in its tone
going between super tough/realistic and sentimental.
It's about a notorious school in Paterson, New Jersey, and how Joe Clark- who taught there in the 60s- is begged to be brought back to bring it back to some normalcy from the degradation of hardcore 80s madness (crack and gangs and other things infiltrating the high schoolers). While it is, as Ebert pointed out, kind of an unsympathetic character Clark is, I somehow can forgive the faults in the script for the acting (aside from Freeman there are other actors, like Robert Guillame and Michael beach and Beverly Todd, who can go up to bat with the likes of the star). It's the kind of feel-good-feel-bad 80s story that somehow stays past its time and place (albeit if you're from Jersey or especially Paterson there's some extra connection), and it's at least one other decent career note for Rocky director Avildsen.
5 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
YAY!! Someone get me a bat and a bullhorn!, 17 July 2007
Rocky and Karate Kid director, John Avildsen takes his
stand-up-and-cheer style from the ring and the dojo to the halls of New
Jersey's Eastside High School in this true story of the mercurial, and
controversial, principal, Joe Clark. Morgan Freeman shines and has a
strong supporting cast in this loud and manipulative, but nonetheless
effective entry into the educator-hero genre. The story strains
credibility and often goes over the top, but the fast pace and great
Freeman performance allow this to still be an entertaining film.
Freeman's Joe Clark is recruited by Superintendent, Frank Napier (Robert Guillaume) for the seemingly impossible task of turning around the violent and out of control Eastside High School School and somehow motivating the staff and students to improve their results on the State Literacy Exam, or else see the school fall under state control. Clark uses a bullhorn, a baseball bat and a confrontational style with his staff and combines it with a tough, nurturing relationship with his students to try to bring this about, while battling alienated staff and angry parents, led by Ms. Levias (Lynne Thigpen) to try to bring about the desired changes.
Sure, this film is far-fetched and overblown and even has a couple scenes that approach unintentional humor, but it has enough strengths to compensate and make it worthwhile viewing for those who enjoy the true story school genre that Hollywood loves so much. Morgan Freeman is always a pleasure to watch and he is very strong here. So get ready to stand up and cheer!
(This review was first posted on realmoviereview.com)
3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Great acting, so-so script, 30 April 2001
Author: Dasher111 from New York, NY
Morgan Freeman's performance is the real reason to see this film. He's
helped by a solid supporting cast, leading to some truly memorable scenes as
principal Joe Clark (Freeman) battles teachers, parents, and administrators
who are outraged by his controversial methods.
But this film deserved a grittier treatment than what it was given. The script is an awkward blend of inner-city drama with feel-good heroics. The subplot about the basic skills test should have been scrapped. First of all, it never happened in real life. But more importantly, it changed the entire tone of the film. Clark's story was about how he disciplined a school, not how he educated it. The softened approach leaves LEAN ON ME at odds with itself - it tries to be like STAND AND DELIVER, when it should have been like THE PRINCIPAL.
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