Half Nelson

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Released 2006

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Movie Summary

Director:
Ryan Fleck
Released:
2006
Rating:
R
Half-Nelson is an American dramatic film written by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck, based on a short film directed Boden and Fleck entitled Gowanus, Brooklyn. As middle school teacher Dan Dunne (Ryan Gosling) is a out of the ordinary educator, encouraging his students to deconstruct the traditional idea of education. His history class at a school in Brooklyn is well regarded for it's strenuous but rewarding work. Outside of class, however, Dan struggles with an addiction to cocaine, he finds solace in the most unusual of places. Middle-school student Drey (Shareeka Epps) discovers him getting high and she attempts to show him the dangers of his habit. Drey's family has struggled with drugs for years, giving her an insider's perspective into the damage an addiction can cause. Drey's brother is serving time in prison for selling drugs in the neighborhood. Both Gosling and Epps were nominated for numerous awards, and the film made countless top ten lists in 2007.

Metacritic Score

  • 100

    Los Angeles Times Kenneth Turan

    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 sel...

  • 90

    The New York Times Manohla Dargis

    What makes Half Nelson both an unusual and an exceptional American film, particularly at a time when even films about Sept. 11 are professed to have no politics, is its insistence ...

  • 80

    Variety Dennis Harvey

    Avoiding rote inspirational notes as well as boyz-in-the-hood violence, scrupulously low-key drama nonetheless builds to a powerful impact.

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    Drama

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    Independent