This film is the based-on-true-events story of LouAnne Johnson, a retired United States Marine who took as her next job that of a school teacher at a segregated inner-city high school. That was in 1989, long after the Supreme Court declared segregation illegal, although it's safe to say it remains an issue to this day in some regions of the country. The students in Johnson's class were considered hopeless cases - pregnant teens, gang members - with no interest in any type of formalized study. So LouAnne threw the curriculum away and reached out to connect with them in a way they could understand. In the movie, she played her favorite Bob Dylan music for them and revealed the beauty of art. She then got involved in their personal lives, going to their homes and taking them out to dinner. Whatever it took.
The movie was a substantial success when it came out, despite negative critical reviews. The writing was described as inferior, the character development not substantial enough. Pfeiffer, regarded as a strong actor, wasn't given a chance to perform. The oddest thing about the movie was that the real LouAnne brought rap into her classroom to connect with her students, but the producers decided that film LouAnne should use Bob Dylan’s music instead to inspire her kids. That said, it did introduce the world to Coolio's amazingly popular tune "Gangsta's Paradise," so there's that. The soundtrack went triple platinum and the film made over seven times its budget.