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7 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Great story!

10/10
Author: Edward Bugsch from United States
23 August 2005

This is a true story about what education should be like in the United States. It's a story about one teacher who cared enough about the kids to do whatever it took to help these kids get their education and to graduate. This is a story about rising up above the perceived problems and taking charge of your destiny. This is the best movie I've seen in my life! Based upon the real life person Marilyn Gambrell who teaches these children to rise above the problems. She teaches them not only about the subject in school that she is there for, but she also teaches them about respecting each other & themselves. She also gets each one of these kids to graduate! The one kid that was expelled promised to come back next year. Through all of this, she even went up against the faculty when they wanted to ax her program. She went up against them because she believed in the kids that much. She took the worst kids in the district and made them into winners. This true story shows you how anybody can be a winner!

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

I watched this movie and I can relate..

10/10
Author: minister_real_deal from United States
22 November 2006

Although you can tell that the movie, made for TV, was not a blockbuster, it drives home a very key issue experienced in our society today. I personally have never gone through some of the experiences of the children portrayed in the movie but I'm close to people who have. I felt the sincerity, pain, frustration, agony and the need to survive in every minute watched. You can tell that what actually took place at M. B. Smiley High School was a lot more than what TV could provide. It was definitely enough to get the message across though. I recommend this movie for all students of inner cities. I think it should be a requirement. Excellent and two thumbs up!

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

An Inspirational movie for all ages

10/10
Author: kevinisha111 from United States
19 August 2006

Fighting the odds was a very good movie, containing a great cast. Jamie Gertz did a phenomenal job, as well as Ernie Hudson and Sicily. This movie is a must see for not only kids with the same situations as the kids in the movie, but younger kids as well as teens. I felt really liberated as I watched this movie, I felt as if I should reach out to kids with similar situations in my city. Lifetime does not show this movie enough, and they should. Now that I've seen it, I'm going to get some kids at my school to watch it so they can maybe get some courage and see other kids going through what they are going through. So if you haven't seen it, now is the time to see it. It is inspirational, enjoyable, and for all to see.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Excellent and inspiring movie

10/10
Author: charlenelv from United States
3 September 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

My granddaughter introduced me to this movie. We watched it together and were moved by the dedication of Marlyn Gambrell and her associate. Jami Gertz did a good job portraying Ms. Gambrell and acted the role with much conviction. I kept seeing her as the whiney and clinging fiancée she played in "Twister" however, and found it hard to not judge her character in the same manner. Ernie Hudson was at his very best. He was, I think, more believable in her role than Jami Gertz was in hers.

As a retired correctional counselor I often would have three generations of the same family on my caseload. Whenever I was asked by a visiting group on tour of the prison, as to what the answer was to lower the crime rate, my answer was the same as Marilyn Gambrell. It must start with the children. Perhaps this movie will inspire more professionals to follow in her footsteps and begin similar programs thought the states.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Recommended

9/10
Author: FKrouse from United States
28 August 2005

This movie is good. Strong script and well acted. Must see especially if you liked Dangerous Minds. Marilyn Gambrell is an inspiration and strives to make a difference in the community she comes from. Gambrell a former parole officer, and a former co worker, gets involved with the students from Smiley High School. Gambrell a white female, is seen as an outsider and has to earn the respect of the students. Her main focus is on children of parent or parents whom are in jail. She is hoping to break the chain, so future children will not end up in prison. She strives to show each child they are loved and no longer victims. She has started a foundation, No More Victims. Emotional scenes in this movie were portrayed very well. I highly recommend.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Excellent Movie and Great Inspiration

10/10
Author: sthpa19 from United States
28 August 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This movie makes you think about all the kids that don't have both natural parents at home and how they adjust. The only part of this movie that disappointed me is that she never finds the young girl that started her quest to help children in need. Surely out there someway she could get the information that she needed to find her. I would like to say that this movie makes you wonder just how many kids do I know that are going through something like this in their own homes. I would just hope that a NMV chapter would start in every state to help those in need. I think this movie makes you think about others and focus on problems that you never see in your own life and maybe you need to be grateful for the good things that you have and the normalcy that you have in your own homes. This movie reminds me of the movie Dangerous Minds. Both are great and inspirational movies and they make you think.

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True Story???

Author: D Val from Houston, TX
18 November 2008

I've not seen nor heard anything about this movie until today, I looked up the summary (below) and here is my assessment without being a movie critic: Being an ex-student at Smiley High School and having family and friends and their children attend Smiley, I can truly say that Smiley High School is not the perfect school but it is no tougher than any other school in Houston. It is not a school in the 'projects' as one commenter stated. To say that 'virtually all the students have at least one parent incarcerated' is bull! ALL THE SCHOOLS IN HOUSTON, OR ANY OTHER CITY/STATE HAVE STUDENTS WHOSE PARENTS HAVE BEEN OR ARE INCARCERATED, WHO'VE BEEN RAPED, ASSAULTED OR WHATEVER AND THAT DOES'NT MAKE THE SCHOOL A TOUGH SCHOOL. IT'S STUDENTS WHO'VE BEEN DEALT A BAD HAND....Wherever! DON'T TRY TO SELL A MOVIE ON PARTIAL TRUTHS! The program is to be commended, it's intent is awesome..to help the students take a different road than their parents, but do not portray the school as a whole of what it is not! There are no more nor less criminals or victims walking the halls of Smiley HS than in any other school in either a poor or rich neighborhood.

IT'S AN INJUSTICE TO OVERLOOK THE HARD WORK BY A GOOD PORTION OF THE STUDENT BODY WHOSE TRYING TO SUCCEED IN SPITE OF THEIR HARD LUCK OR THE LACK OF MONEY BECAUSE THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS WAS POCKETING IT INSTEAD OF UTILIZING AS IT SHOULD'VE.

MY sister has a written article where the principals, several teachers and students from M.B. Smiley HS were interviewed and they were in total disagreement in how the school and the characters were played out in the movie.

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Pretty good, inspiring, but sometimessaccharine and unrealistic.

7/10
Author: larissa19662 from Maryland
10 August 2007

I love true life stories, and love Jamie Gertz, but I was disappointed with her and the script, although the move was good overall. The idea that she would walk in and be able to immediately say "you are so valuable" or something like that seems just a bit arrogant. She would not have gained their trust in the first day or week. Putting her students on the spot so soon in front of their peers was another thing that looked unrealistic.

I don't know if I misunderstood the timing or what. Later, her relationship was more realistic, but the lines just as saccharine.

The kids were great. Their realities were intense and realistic, and heartwrenching. Her having to come to grips with her own reality was important; it created an equality between her and that kids that was realistic.

Very good, but not great.

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Incredible

10/10
Author: smacmillan0187 from New Jersey, United States
19 June 2007

Honestly, this movie is beyond inspirational, and to simply say the movie is incredible would be an immense understatement. Jami Gertz' performance is heartfelt and the role was simply just for her. The storyline is very frightening indeed; what I found to be a profound insult to the proposed "No More Victims" program was the beyond negative attitude from the faculty toward the students. The movie portrayed each individual character to the utmost extent, to the point where you could actually feel for the character, and thus, feel for the victim. This movie has become one of my favorites of all time. To say the least, i believe every school in America should have a similar program, or at least use the film as an educational tool. In regards to the statement that Gambrell's character was intrusive and such: who else did the students have in their lives to make a difference? Nobody; everyone believed them to be the pit of society's worst, and frankly, she cared enough. She not only cared, but actually DID something about it, something half of us are too scared to do.

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Excellent Movie

10/10
Author: lbabinick from United States
19 June 2007

As a victim of rape from my father and his girlfriend I find this movie one of the best movies I have ever seen. I have never seen a movie that helps victims as well as this movie. I watched it and was absolutely inspired to do something good with my life. I was always wanting to become a nurse so I am going to take and become a nurse despite people telling me I couldn't do it. I am going to help kids who are victims. Whether it be of socitey or of some kinds of disease because their parents couldn't take care of them. I hope that anyone watching this movie takes and learns something from this movie. I hope everyone looks at their life and see's something they can change.

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