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Half Nelson (2006)

R  |   |  Drama  |  22 September 2006 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 68,144 users   Metascore: 85/100
Reviews: 189 user | 206 critic | 31 from Metacritic.com

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.


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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 27 wins & 41 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Tyra Kwao-Vovo ...
Rosemary Ledee ...
Bryce Silver ...
Kaela C. Pabon ...
Erica Rivera ...
Erika (as Erika Rivera)
Eleanor Hutchins ...


Young Caucasian Dan Dunne teaches history and coaches the girls basketball team at a Brooklyn high school populated primarily by black and Hispanic students. To the chagrin of his superiors, Dan bucks the outlined curriculum of historical facts in favor of the philosophy of historical events, generally discussing the concept of dialectics. As such, he captures the imagination of his students, at least in the classroom. Outside of the classroom, Dan's life is in shambles. He has a distant but cordial relationship with his family. He uses illicit drugs rampantly. Although his former girlfriend Rachel was able to clean up her drug habit, Dan believes that rehab will not work for him. Due to a combination of these issues, he treats women poorly. Thirteen year old Drey is a student in his class and a player on his basketball team. Drey has her own problems. Her parents are divorced, with her father a virtually non-existent figure in her life and her EMT mother generally absent as she is ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Secrets don't let go.



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for drug content throughout, language and some sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

22 September 2006 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Half Nelson - Encurralados  »

Box Office


$700,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$53,983 (USA) (11 August 2006)


$2,694,973 (USA) (8 December 2006)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The Dan Dunne character was originally written to be in his mid-thirties. However, the filmmakers changed this to accommodate Ryan Gosling's age. Gosling was 25 years old at the time of filming. See more »


Isabel: Are you a communist?
Dan: What?
Isabel: I was looking through your books. Che in Africa?
Dan: So?
Isabel: The Communist Manifesto?
Dan: If I had a copy of Mein Kampf, would that make me a Nazi?
Isabel: [Eating leftover dinner] You know, this is really good. Very tasty.
Dan: You should try it warm.
Isabel: Well, you don't have a copy of Mein Kampf, but if you did, then yes, I'd ask if you were a Nazi.
Dan: Maybe I'm hiding it.
See more »


Referenced in Fantasmes! Sexe, fiction et tentations (2013) See more »


Feel Good Lost
Written and Performed by Broken Social Scene
Published by Arts & Crafts Music
Licensed Courtesy of Arts & Crafts Records
From the album "Feel Good Lost"
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User Reviews

15 August 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

If the strength of the medium of film is to relay meaning which cannot be expressed in words, then I don't think a review of this film on my part would be worth much. In the spirit of keeping things trite, let me just say I have seen quite a few films, quite a few classics, quite a few masterpieces, and frankly, none of them have moved me as much as this film did. How the BRILLIANT director/writers whom I'm sure we have not seen the last of, managed to weave together seamlessly political commentary, commentary on the nature of the modern family/relationships, existential struggles, racial tensions and ironies, and the very struggles with which we are born by simply being human, is beyond me. The end result was nothing short of a masterpiece. This movie will make you think, feel, and hope. Perfection projected.

158 of 215 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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