Lesson Plans Based on Movies & Film Clips!                                         

Terms of Use  TWM Blog 



Additional Discussion Questions:
      Subjects (Curriculum Topics)
            More on Irony
            Other ELA
            More on Prejudice
      Social-Emotional Learning
      Moral-Ethical Emphasis
            (Character Counts)

Other Sections:
      CCSS Anchor Standards
      Selected Awards & Cast

Go to the Learning Guide for this film.

Additional Discussion Questions

More on Irony

5. Describe an incident of irony in the movie other than what has been previously discussed in class. Which of them shows the multi-layered nature of how humans react to different situations, i.e., that they can act badly in some situations and very well in others. Suggested Response: See questions 2 and 3. Other ironies include the following: It is ironic that Anthony, who has been mercenary and just looking to make a quick buck for the entire film, declines the $500 per illegal immigrant he is offered for the people chained to the truck and becomes their emancipator. It is ironic that the only one to help the D.A.'s wife when she had fallen was the Mexican maid about whom the wife had been so dismissive earlier. It is ironic that the D.A.'s wife calls the maid her only friend. It is ironic that the bullets in the Persian shopkeeper's gun are blanks and that although he intends to kill the locksmith, his failure to injure anyone saves him.

Other ELA Questions

6. Who or what is the protagonist in this film? Suggested Response: This is one of the few stories with no individual who can qualify as "the protagonist." It could be said that everything that is good in the human spirit is the protagonist. It could also be said that there are many protagonists.

7. Who or what is the antagonist in this film? Suggested Response: Prejudice is the antagonist.

More on Prejudice

8. What examples of racism can you find in the film that are used to advance a political agenda? Suggested Response: The District Attorney does not want it known that the carjackers are black; he wants to place a black officer in an important position in the investigation, and he wants to cover up the crimes of a black officer in order to avoid the appearance of racism.

9. Is any character purged of his or her racism through actions that he takes in this story? Is any character fully redeemed? Suggested Response: Answers may differ. This is the response TWM would give. No character is purged of racism. Perhaps through the fire of his guilt, Hansen will see his way through it. Some of the characters are able to redeem some of their bad actions. These include Officer Ryan who redeems his sexual assault on Christine Thayer by his heroic actions in saving her. The D.A.'s wife might treat her maid better, but she is such an angry and flawed character that this one epiphany probably won't change her personality. The same is true for Anthony. After setting the illegal immigrants free, he'll probably go back to thieving. Is there any indication that he has an inclination to do anything else?

See also Question #1, below, under "Respect" and Discussion Questions for Use With any Film that is a Work of Fiction.

Social-Emotional Learning Discussion Questions


1.   What do you make of the relationship between Detective Waters and his mother. Suggested Response: Responses may differ. Some will say that she was just a delusional, lost soul and a drug addict. Others may point assert that Waters had rejected his family and his race in trying to be white.

Moral-Ethical Emphasis Discussion Questions (Character Counts)
(TeachWithMovies.com is a Character Counts "Six Pillars Partner"
and  uses The Six Pillars of Character to to organize ethical


(Treat others with respect; follow the Golden Rule; Be tolerant of differences; Use good manners, not bad language; Be considerate of the feelings of others; Don't threaten, hit or hurt anyone; Deal peacefully with anger, insults and disagreements)

1.  Is there any major character in this film who isn't prejudiced in some way? Suggested Response: Not really, and that's the point. Students may say that the locksmith doesn't display prejudice. However, he's just in the movie to be the subject of the racism of several other characters. The point is that we all have vestiges of racism and prejudice that we need to battle if we are to treat others well.

Common Core State Standards that can be Served by this Learning Guide
(Anchor Standards only)

Multimedia: Anchor Standard #7 for Reading (for both ELA classes and for History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Classes). (The three Anchor Standards read: "Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse media, including visually and quantitatively as well as in words.") CCSS pp. 35 & 60. See also Anchor Standard # 2 for ELA Speaking and Listening, CCSS pg. 48.

Reading: Anchor Standards #s 1, 2, 7 and 8 for Reading and related standards (for both ELA classes and for History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Classes). CCSS pp. 35 & 60.

Writing: Anchor Standards #s 1 - 5 and 7- 10 for Writing and related standards (for both ELA classes and for History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Classes). CCSS pp. 41 & 63.

Speaking and Listening: Anchor Standards #s 1 - 3 (for ELA classes). CCSS pg. 48.

Not all assignments reach all Anchor Standards. Teachers are encouraged to review the specific standards to make sure that over the term all standards are met.

Selected Awards, Cast and Director

Selected Awards: 2006 Academy Awards: Best Picture; Best Achievement in Film Editing; Best Writing, Original Screenplay; Academy Awards Nominations: Best Achievement in Directing; Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Song; Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role (Matt Dillon);

Featured Actors: Karina Arroyave as Elizabeth; Dato Bakhtadze as Lucien; Sandra Bullock as Jean Cabot; Don Cheadle as Det. Graham Waters; Art Chudabala as Ken Ho; Sean Cory as Motorcycle Cop; Tony Danza as Fred; Keith David as Lt. Dixon; Loretta Devine as Shaniqua Johnson; Matt Dillon as Officer John Ryan; Jennifer Esposito as Ria; Ime Etuk as Georgie; Eddie J. Fernandez as Officer Gomez; William Fichtner as Flanagan;

Director: Paul Haggis.

Spread the GOOD NEWS about


© by TeachWithMovies.com, Inc. All rights reserved. Note that unless otherwise indicated any quotations attributed to a source, photographs, illustrations, maps, diagrams or paintings were copied from public domain sources or are included based upon the "fair use" doctrine. No claim to copyright is made as to those items. DVD or VHS covers are in the public domain. TeachWithMovies.org®, TeachWithMovies.com®, Talking and Playing with Movies™, and the pencil and filmstrip logo are trademarks of TeachWithMovies.com, Inc.

TWM grants free limited licenses to copy TWM curriculum materials only to educators in public or non-profit schools and to parents trying to help educate their children. See TWM's Terms of Use for a full description of the free licenses and limits on the rights of others to copy TWM.