Half Nelson 2006

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Featuring an Oscar-nominated performance by Ryan Gosling (Drive), HALF NELSON is a moving story of redemption in an unforgiving world. Dan Dunne (Gosling) is a dynamic and inspirational inner city high school teacher. But his personal disappointments and disillusionment have led to a serious drug habit.

Starring:
Ryan Gosling, Shareeka Epps
Runtime:
1 hour 42 minutes

Half Nelson

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Product Details

Genres Drama
Director Ryan Fleck
Starring Ryan Gosling, Shareeka Epps
Supporting actors Tina Holmes, Anthony Mackie, Nicole Vicius, Christopher Williamson
Studio Axiom
BBFC rating Suitable for 15 years and over
Rental rights 48 hour viewing period. Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly and download to 2 locations Details
Format Amazon Instant Video (streaming online video and digital download)

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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Demob Happy on 22 July 2007
Format: DVD
Half Nelson tells the story of an idealistic young teacher Dan, unable to break his cycle of cocaine and crack abuse. Labouring under the delusion that he will finish an illustrated children's book on 'dialectics', he teaches history at a run-down innercity school. Bringing left-wing theory into his lessons on the civil rights movement, his classes comprise predominately black teenagers from a poor suburb. When he has the sobreity to give them, that is; throughout the film he is increasingly unable to function with any kind of clarity.

Early in the film he is found in a locker room cubicle high on crack by one of his students Drey, and a tacit understanding is reached between them. She, whose brother has been incarcerated from involvement in the drug trade, can see how crack is devestating her community, but is still allured by the success of 'Frank', a drug dealing "family friend". Frank gradually enrolls her in his business; drugs providing her with a potential but probably ephemeral means of escape from the squalor of her broken home. For Dan, the escape is from the burden of completing his book, and from turning his political ideals into affirmative action. His inertia and drug-addled stupour are shown in contrast to footage of highly impassioned speeches from the civil rights movement, calling on people to throw themselves down on the machinery of the system to grind it to a halt. Decades after the civil rights movement, many people in the black community are still caught up in the prison system, or denied opportunities to further themselves socially; but Dan is increasingly aware how little he can do about it. His classes on the dialectics of change through opposition, start to sound hollow when there is so little hope for his students.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Mr. A. J. Richards on 5 Feb 2008
Format: DVD
Ryan Gosling is exceptional in his role as a teacher at a comprehensive school and gives off raw emotion that at times is not only difficult for the character but the audience watching. He is superb and is an actor to watch for the long-term future.
Despite Gosling's inability to relate to the people that try and get on with him who are not directly involved in his life, he comes across as a simple but effective man but with hidden side-issues on what kind of world he is living in. He gets through any emotive negative within him by being truthful to himself and witty with others.
The film flows smoothly and without any preudice towards generic charachters and the music is unique and fitting. All the supporting players do a great job especially the drug-pimp(probably the nicest dealer portrayed in films) but theres the point of the film, do not take people on face-value or even the things they do to make money or get-by because there is a deeper meaning to what these characters are trying to achieve.
A film i could relate to and i especially like the scene where Gosling gets asked by his 'over-night guest' in the morning "Why do you have a copy of the mien kampf?" and he answers with a slightly cold but reasonable answer of "Just because i have a copy of that book, it doesnt make me a nazi". Theres something odd yet distinctive about the way he looks at life and the surprises with in his own. Its not till the end that Gosling's character realises its time to believe in not just his own thoughts but of those around him...and more importantly kick the habit..because although its an easy to get into and difficult slippery slide to hide your irresponsibilty, its a route that must be declined!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By R. Mullaney VINE VOICE on 2 Mar 2008
Format: DVD
Ryan Gosling plays Mr. Dunne, a history teacher at an American inner city high school. In the classroom he is thought provoking and popular with his students. In his private life he is depressed and unfulfilled and uses crack cocaine to dull his disappointment with his life. When a girl from his class, Dree (Shareeka Epps) catches him getting high after school one night, they form an unlikely friendship.

This may sound like another Dangerous Minds with all the usual cliches of a white teacher trying to be a good role model to disaffected black kids but Half Nelson is much more. For a start, his class clearly like and respect him, unaware of his personal battle with drugs. Although Dree needs him to replace her deadbeat dad and incarcerated brother, he also needs her to give him purpose. As he becomes close to the child he tries his best to steer her away from the drug dealing friend who seems determined to look after Dree whilst her brother is in prison. Mr Dunne wants her to stay away from drugs but can't cope without them himself. Gosling and Epps turn in wonderful performances in this intelligent and poignant drama.

Like this? Try: A Room For Romeo Brass
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By CJR on 4 Oct 2007
Format: DVD
I bought this on the basis of a good magazine review, and i wasn't disappointed. It takes a bit of getting into at first as the style of filming is a bit bizarre and things keep coming in and out of focus; but Ryan Gosling is fantastic as he draws you in and leaves you wanting more. Half Nelson is dark and sad and you find yourself just hoping Drey and Dan can sort their lives out. The ending is kind of up in the air but it doesn't leave you in despair so that's gotta be good! Gosling deserved that Oscar nomination for his superb performance and i for one will definitely be watching this again.
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