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Half Nelson 2006

4.0 out of 5 stars (65) IMDb 7.3/10

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.

Ryan Gosling, Jeff Lima
1 hour, 42 minutes

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Product Details

Genres Drama
Director Ryan Fleck
Starring Ryan Gosling, Jeff Lima
Supporting actors Shareeka Epps, Nathan Corbett, Tyra Kwao-Vovo, Rosemary Ledee, Tristan Wilds, Bryce Silver, Kaela C. Pabon, Erica Rivera, Stephanie Bast, Eleanor Hutchins, Sebastian Sozzi, Tina Holmes, Karen Chilton, Kitty, Starla Benford, Anthony Mackie, Denis O'Hare, Monique Gabriela Curnen
Studio Axiom
BBFC rating Suitable for 15 years and over
Purchase rights Stream instantly and download to 2 locations Details
Format Amazon Video (streaming online video and digital download)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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Format: DVD
Dan and Drey, the former a High School teacher, the latter a student, two people of different ages and of a different race, two people ambling thru life in search of some semblance of meaning to their respective existence. When Drey stumbles upon Dan's secretive drug problem, it's the start of a friendship that could just shape their respective destinies.

A Half Nelson is a hold in the sport of Wrestling that is almost impossible to break free from, and thus we have the basis for this smart and brightly written picture. I myself had avoided this picture for close on two years, I looked at the summaries and presumed that it was yet another preachy life affirming film about a white teacher working in an inner city school and winning over the troubled black kids, how wrong I was. Even tho Half Nelson's plot is heavily reliant on the perils of drugs, and the usual slant of a minor being exposed to narcotics and the worms that peddle the death to people, it's written in such an affectingly intelligent way, it just never comes close to being a cliché driven piece. Both our two main characters here are fully formed and we know enough about their respective lives to understand fully about the redemption yearned for, and crucially, also needed by Dan and Drey. As we enter the final quarter, we the audience are intently observing these two people and their interwoven paths of destiny, filmed in an earthy fly on the wall style, it's with much credit that all involved here have created a moving and believable piece.

Ryan Gosling (Dan) continues his surge up the A list of modern day actors, boasting a number of affecting performances on his CV, this is yet another turn to cement his well earned reputation as a leading light of his generation.
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