Half Nelson

Half Nelson

DVD - 2007?
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A high school teacher with a drug habit finds a friendship in an unlikely source - one of his troubled students. Will their relationship help them or harm them?

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Ryan Gosling is a real star. This role -- a dedicated, socially-conscious history teacher at an inner-city school during the day; a hipster barfly basehead at night -- very easily could have been botched by just about anybody else. But Gosling delivers. The tension in the movie is provided by the young girl and whether she will follow the very organized, materially comfortable, clean and kind local drug kingpin or her stinking hot mess of a whiteboy history teacher. I think this movie is close to perfect.

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Nursebob
Dec 19, 2014

Dan Dunne is a highschool history teacher who’s learned nothing from his own past. By day he’s a charismatic educator and hardworking coach for the girl’s basketball team but at night he indulges his insatiable appetites for crack cocaine and cheap sex. Like most addicts Dan believes himself to be in control of both his drug use and his professional life until he’s discovered smoking in the girls’ room by 13-year old Drey, a bright young student with enough problems of her own. A hesitant friendship slowly develops between the two as they discover they may have more in common than they thought. Fleck firmly avoids the cinematic hyperbole inherent in these types of films; there are no healing hugs, 12-step platitudes or tearful trips to rehab. Instead we see two fully realized human beings who, despite their vastly different backgrounds, are drawn to each other’s pain for reasons entirely their own. Using naturalistic dialogue, handheld camerawork and a funky score, Fleck gives his film an unpolished street-level authenticity further enhanced by some amazing performances. The film does falter somewhat when it tries to ramp up the dramatic irony. Dunne’s classroom lectures on the importance of “change” and “turning points” in respect to history (usually delivered while hungover) are glaring examples of this as are the historical asides delivered by various students; the narrative relevance between covert CIA atrocities and Dunne’s own self-deception is tenuous at best. And a strategically-placed “stars’n’stripes” bandaid is pure overkill. Still, this is one of the most engrossing character-driven dramas I’ve seen in years. Ryan Gosling and Shareeka Epps play off one another beautifully while their final scene, if not exactly uplifting, at least hints at the possibility of mutual salvation.

aaa5756 Aug 23, 2014

It was O.K for a home TV movie. I was entertained and interesting. But it was NOT worth the long library wait or the price to rent from a Red Box. I fast forwarded a lot but not all the way.

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0cho
Feb 11, 2014

This movie was a disappoint with all the good reviews it got. This movie is basically about the day in the life of a drug addict teacher. Nothing really big here.

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lukasevansherman
Nov 02, 2013

I really liked this movie and Ryan Gosling is great, but I'm not sure why it's not called "My Teacher Smokes Crack."

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VRMurphy
Jun 18, 2012

Excellent acting and writing, but a depressing story.

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milulu
May 03, 2012

Acting was great but the movie is a bit boring at times.

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smfilm
Dec 15, 2011

A modern masterpiece.

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bdls206
Jul 31, 2011

Good movie, especially considering it was shot in 23 days. If you like darker movies, then this one is for you. Great acting, and a great script make this a must see.

r
redwallflower
Mar 02, 2010

While stories of teachers having an impact on troubled teenagers are plenty, it was a nice change to see the teacher in a vulnerable position as well.

I'd recommend this film to others.

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bdls206
Jul 31, 2011

bdls206 thinks this title is suitable for 17 years and over

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zorg
Apr 18, 2009

zorg thinks this title is suitable for 11 years and over

Summary

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bdls206
Jul 31, 2011

An inner-city junior high school teacher with a drug habit forms an unlikely friendship with one of his students after she discovers his secret.

z
zorg
Apr 18, 2009

A very talented young teacher, also a cocaine addict becomes friends with one of his students, who happens to be the person who is dealing the cocaine.
It is up to her to feed his addiction, get money for her struggling family, or do what she knows will be best for her friend.

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bdls206
Jul 31, 2011

Coarse Language: This title contains Coarse Language.

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bdls206
Jul 31, 2011

Dan: Change moves in spirals, not circles. For example, the sun goes up and then it goes down. But every time that happens, what do you get? You get a new day. You get a new one. When you breathe, you inhale and you exhale, but every single time that you do that you're a little bit different then the one before. We're always changing. And its important to know that there are some changes you can't control and that there are others you can.

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