Half Nelson

Half Nelson

Dan Dunne (Ryan Gosling) is a young teacher at a shabby Brooklyn junior high school, who somehow finds the energy to inspire his 13 and 14-year-olds to examine everything from civil rights to the Civil War with a new enthusiasm. Rejecting the standard curriculum in favor of an edgier approach, Dan teaches his students how to think for themselves.

Though Dan is brilliant, dynamic, and in control in the classroom, he spends his time outside school on the edge of consciousness. His disappointments and disillusionment have led to a serious drug habit. He juggles his hangovers and his homework, keeping his lives separated, until one of his troubled students, Drey (Shareeka Epps), catches him getting high after school. An uncertain friendship between the two develops.

The Peoples' Reviews

Average ratings from 4 ratings, 4 reviews
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BY munchkin superstar

If you like sad boring movies about drug addicts who is a Teacher rent it you find it hard to sleep its a breat cure for Insomnia

Antoinette called this movie depressing.
In reality it is anything but.
It is a subtle, yet realistic portrayal of drug addiction and what it takes to change.
Half Nelson is simply one of the most beautiful movies I have ever seen.
Not to mention it has great cinematography, outstanding acting, and a brilliant soundtrack.
All I can say is go see it. You wont be sorry.

After reading the positive write-ups incl the Oscar nomination, I thought I would give this movie a go. But it was depressing from start to finish and downhill all the way. Insightful? No. We all know that addictions create a sorry life and this movie just showed it the way it is.

this is really good. ive been waiting for this all year its taken forever to get here. i mean ryan was nominated at the oscars.... for best actor..why has this taken so long to screen? its really good and worth the wait. ryan gosling is terrific, the hottest actor around........go see it. just for him.

The Press Reviews

90% of critics recommend.
Rotten Tomatoes Score. More reviews on Rotten Tomatoes

  • BBC

    Writer/director Ryan Fleck shoots the action in a way that's raw and unsentimental yet brimming with humanity. He examines the everyday exploits of a functioning addict and an apprentice drug dealer with so much absorbing detail that contrived shoot-outs and OD panic scenes aren't necessary to create drama. Instead of preaching, Fleck uses humour to point out hypocrisy. Funny moments spring naturally, like a scene where Drey backchats Mr Dunne and, rather than take the high road, he responds in kind. It takes a while to settle into the rhythm (feeling episodic at first), but Half Nelson soon takes hold with a vice-like grip... Full Review

  • Just wonderful with its offbeat but wholly credible storyline, down-to-earth style and exceptionally fine performances... Full Review

  • What is different about Half Nelson is the execution, the kind of subtlety in writing, directing and acting (by costars Shareeka Epps and Anthony Mackie as well as Gosling) you seldom see... Full Review

  • An inspirational teacher picture devoid of the usual pieties is driven by a brilliant performance by Gosling... Full Review

  • The audacity of making an inner-city drama in which the white-male authority figure is the crackhead finds its equal in Gosling's already legendary performance, a high-wire act that's gutsiest for its unconscionable charm... Full Review