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Lean on Me

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PG-13
1989

Lean on Me is an inspirational drama film from 1989 that tells the story of Joe Clark, a no-nonsense principal who is hired to turn around a troubled inner-city high school in Paterson, New Jersey. The film stars Morgan Freeman in the lead role of Joe Clark, a former military man who is tough but fair and deeply committed to improving the lives of his students. Beverly Todd plays his supportive wife, and Robert Guillaume plays the school district superintendent who is skeptical of Clark's unorthodox methods.

The film begins with the Eastside High School in disarray, with students and teachers alike feeling hopeless and disillusioned. Clark steps in with a strict new regime that includes metal detectors, locker searches, and strict discipline. He is uncompromising in his approach and quickly makes enemies of both the school board and the community. However, he also gains the respect and admiration of his students, who see him as a tough but caring mentor who believes in their potential.

As Clark struggles to keep order in the school, he faces challenges both inside and outside the classroom. He battles with teachers who are resistant to change and wrestles with personal demons from his past. Meanwhile, the school board attempts to remove him from his position, citing his methods as too extreme.

Despite these obstacles, Clark refuses to back down and remains dedicated to his students. He implements programs such as a patrolling system, a study regime and even goes to student homes to convince parents to motivate their children towards a brighter future. His methods begin to pay off, and the school experiences a transformative change that eventually earns national recognition.

At its heart, Lean on Me is a powerful story of a man who is willing to stand up for what he believes in and fight for the betterment of his community. The film tackles important themes such as inequality in education, institutional racism, and the power of mentorship, all of which are still relevant today.

Freeman's mesmerizing portrayal of Joe Clark anchors the film, and he brings a sense of gravitas and compassion to the role. His performance is nuanced and relatable, and he expertly conveys the frustration, anger, and hope that Joe Clark experiences throughout the film.

The supporting cast is equally impressive, with Beverly Todd delivering a heartfelt performance as Joe's wife, and Robert Guillaume bringing depth to the character of the school district superintendent. The film also features a strong ensemble cast of young actors, many of whom went on to successful careers in Hollywood.

The film's direction, by John G. Avildsen, is also noteworthy, with Avildsen's signature style of depicting the underdog and inspiring respect and admiration for their tenacity coming up strong, delivering powerful moments of inspiration and hope throughout the film.

In conclusion, Lean on Me is a must-see film that offers an inspiring and emotional portrayal of one man's struggle to make a difference in a community that is desperately in need of change. It is a reminder of the importance of education, mentorship, and leadership, and it serves as a powerful example of what can be accomplished when people come together with a shared sense of purpose.

Note: Lean on Me is a 1989 American biographical drama film.

Lean on Me is a Drama movie released in 1989. It has a runtime of 108. Critics and viewers have rated it moderate reviews, with an IMDb score of 7.4. It also holds a MetaScore of 58.

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7.4/10
58/100
Director
John G. Avildsen
Stars
Morgan Freeman, Beverly Todd, Alan North, Robert Guillaume
Genres
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