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Half Nelson (2006)

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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 & 45 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

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

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

Taglines:

Secrets don't let go.

Genres:

Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

22 September 2006 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Half Nelson - Encurralados  »

Box Office

Budget:

$700,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

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

Gross:

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

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

(According to the filmmakers' commentary on the DVD) the film was shot hand-held, except for a short sequence in Dan Dunne's apartment. The sequence in Dunne's apartment happens when he is not there, and it contains all static shots. These static shots were shot on a tripod. See more »

Quotes

Dan: I used to be so fucked. I used to be so fucked up. I was just out there. You know? But I fucking cleaned up. I cleaned up,
[snorts a line of cocaine]
Dan: For the most part. I do it now to get by, but I can handle it. You know what I mean? I tried the rehab thing. I tried it. But it didn't work, Didn't work. It works for some people. My ex girlfriend is getting married. That's how it works for some people. Right? Didn't work for me. The kids keep me focused. And I...
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Connections

Featured in Siskel & Ebert: Episode dated 12 August 2006 (2006) See more »

Soundtracks

Sometimes
Written by Alex Gale, Thomas Gross, Dave Guy, Loren Hammonds (as Oren Hammonds), Aaron Jones,
Dave Kupferstein, Taylor Rivelli
Performed and Produced by Dujeous
Courtesy of Wax Po Records
Under license from Apex Technical Drool, Music for the Elderly, Diesel Big Mouth Music, The Cinematic Advances,
Sleazy-Rhet Music, Insane Wizard Scripts, Chiron in the Stars
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User Reviews

 
Not One False Note in this Film
19 August 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

"Half Nelson" is a spare, original story with exquisitely natural and fresh performances delivered by Ryan Gosling, Shareeka Epps and Anthony Mackie. The film covers ground somewhat like what we've seen in "To Sir, With Love," "Dangerous Minds," "The Blackboard Jungle" and other inner-city school dramas. Only this film focuses on the lives of one teacher and student in an intimate and up-close way. "Half Nelson" looks at specific lives and does not generalize. There is little exposition, and so much of what we learn about the characters is deduced from how they said something, rather than what they said. At times, I found myself laughing and smiling through what is a rather disturbing story because of the way the characters react to the circumstances they find themselves in.

I can't say enough good things about this film and highly recommend it because it is well conceived, directed and performed.

I hope it receives support and recognition during the film award season so that a wider audience will find and see this independent film.


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