IMDb > Half Nelson (2006)
Half Nelson
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Half Nelson (2006) More at IMDbPro »

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Half Nelson -- A powerful, award-winning film about an inner-city junior high school teacher (Ryan Gosling, The Notebook) with a drug habit who forms an unlikely friendship with one of his students (Shareeka Epps) after she discovers his secret.
Half Nelson -- 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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7.3/10   68,874 votes »
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Popularity: ?
Down 7% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Writers (WGA):
Ryan Fleck (written by) &
Anna Boden (written by)
View company contact information for Half Nelson on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
22 September 2006 (USA) See more »
Secrets don't let go.
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. Full summary » | Full synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
Nominated for Oscar. Another 37 wins & 34 nominations See more »
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User Reviews:
Gritty and sensitive See more (189 total) »


  (in credits order) (complete, awaiting verification)

Ryan Gosling ... Dan Dunne

Jeff Lima ... Roodly

Shareeka Epps ... Drey

Nathan Corbett ... Terrance
Tyra Kwao-Vovo ... Stacy
Rosemary Ledee ... Gina

Tristan Wilds ... Jamal
Bryce Silver ... Bernard
Kaela C. Pabon ... Lena
Erica Rivera ... Erika (as Erika Rivera)

Stephanie Bast ... Vanessa
Eleanor Hutchins ... Simone

Sebastian Sozzi ... Javier

Tina Holmes ... Rachel

Karen Chilton ... Karen
Kitty ... Dave - The Cat
Starla Benford ... Principal Henderson

Anthony Mackie ... Frank

Denis O'Hare ... Jimbo

Monique Gabriela Curnen ... Isabel

Deidre Goodwin ... Tina

Collins Pennie ... Mike
Thaddeus Daniels ... Referee
Susan Kerner ... Motel Slow Dancer

Raymond Anthony Thomas ... Earle (as Ray Anthony Thomas)
Stanton Davis ... Trumpet Player (as Stanton Davis Jr.)

Ron Cephas Jones ... Mr. Dickson
Christopher Williamson ... Charles
Leslie Eva Glaser ... Rose

Sharon Washington ... Suzanne

Deborah Rush ... Jo Dunne

Jay O. Sanders ... Russ Dunne (as Jay Sanders)

Nicole Vicius ... Cindy
David Easton ... Jeff Dunne

Adepero Oduye ... Crack Smoker

Katie Nehra ... Woman with Camera
Steve Kursh ... Man on Bed
Matt Kerr ... Mr. Light
rest of cast listed alphabetically:

Harvey Milk ... Himself (archive footage) (uncredited)

Directed by
Ryan Fleck 
Writing credits
Ryan Fleck (written by) &
Anna Boden (written by)

Produced by
Anna Boden .... producer
Charlie Corwin .... executive producer
Doug Dey .... executive producer
Hunter Gray .... associate producer
Rosanne Korenberg .... producer
Scott London .... executive producer
Clara Markowicz .... executive producer
Paul Mezey .... executive producer
Alex Orlovsky .... producer
Jamie Patricof .... producer
Lynette Howell Taylor .... producer (as Lynette Howell)
Jeremy Kipp Walker .... co-producer
Original Music by
Broken Social Scene 
Cinematography by
Andrij Parekh 
Film Editing by
Anna Boden 
Casting by
Eyde Belasco 
Production Design by
Beth Mickle  (as Elizabeth Mickle)
Art Direction by
Inbal Weinberg 
Costume Design by
Erin Benach 
Makeup Department
Loretta Alston .... key hair stylist
Sabrina Alston .... additional hair stylist
Marilyn Cush .... additional hair stylist
David Kalahiki .... additional makeup artist
Xandra Mercedez .... additional makeup artist
Leo Won .... key makeup artist
Production Management
Ronny Merdinger .... production supervisor
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Nicholas R. Bell .... second assistant director
Amyjoy Clark .... second second assistant director
Mariela Comitini .... first assistant director
Art Department
Jeremy L. Balon .... property master
Heidi Barack .... artwork
Justin Bischoff .... art department intern
Jared Bumgarner .... art department intern
Tze Chun .... artwork
Dan Delorenzo .... art department intern
Joey DePaolo .... art intern
Nicholas Fabiano .... art department intern (as Nick Fabiano)
Corey Gegner .... art department intern
Julie Gollins .... propmaker
Alonso Homs .... art department intern
Dan-ah Kim .... on-set dresser
Ryan Minelli .... art department intern
Mark Pelter-Robson .... artwork
Luke Pendley .... art department intern
Mike Romano .... leadman
Jürgen Schadeberg .... artwork (as Jurgen Schadeberg)
Herb Snitzer .... artwork
Bernard Stollman .... artwork
Keren Masser .... art department intern (uncredited)
Sound Department
Leslie Bloome .... foley artist (as Leslie Bloom)
David Crabb .... foley editor
Tom Efinger .... post-production supervising sound editor
Tom Efinger .... sound re-recording mixer
Judy Karp .... sound mixer
John Moros .... dialogue editor
Jaime Reyes .... boom operator
Paul Sacco .... stereo sound consultant: Dolby Stereo
Abigail Savage .... foley recordist
Nicholas Schenck .... assistant sound editor (as Nicholas J. Schenck)
Craig Spencer .... sound effects editor
Visual Effects by
Ricardo Guzman .... scanning and film recording
Bert Hilaire .... digital intermediate engineer
Jeff Huston .... scanning and film recording
Scot Olive .... digital intermediate colorist
Corey Stewart .... digital intermediate engineer
Camera and Electrical Department
Adam B. Bell .... still photographer (as Adam Bell)
Carter Bissell .... additional grip
Carter Bissell .... electrician
Molly Condit .... videographer
Katie Dainson .... camera loader
DeWitt Davis .... additional grip (as Dewitt Davis)
DeWitt Davis .... electrician (as Dewitt Davis)
Daniel Feighery .... assistant camera
John Frisbie .... best boy electric
Jared Graf .... additional assistant camera
Wesley Hodges .... second assistant camera
Chris Knable .... grip/electric intern
Mike 'Electric' Mervilde Jr. .... electrician (as Mike Mervilde Jr.)
Smokey Nelson .... gaffer
Michael Nostrand .... videographer
Aaron Randall .... best boy grip
Gabrielle Russomagno .... still photographer
Matthew Walker .... key grip (as Matt Walker)
Toshiro Yamaguchi .... first assistant camera
Casting Department
Tiffany Nottage .... casting assistant
Rita Powers .... extras casting
Sean Powers .... extras casting
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Molly Bauml .... wardrobe intern
Jennifer LeRoux .... wardrobe intern
Natalia Parsons .... costume design assistant
Andrea Roa .... wardrobe supervisor
Editorial Department
Chad Beck .... associate editor
George Bunce .... editor: IQ
Cindy Lee .... assistant editor
Scot Olive .... digital intermediate colorist
Matthew Reedy .... digital intermediate producer
Mike Trinker .... digital intermediate editor (uncredited)
Music Department
Doug Bernheim .... music supervisor
Rich Kleiman .... music consultant (as Richard Kleiman)
Charles Spearin .... soundtrack
Other crew
Ronald Arceneaux .... additional set production assistant
E.J. Bradley III .... set production assistant (as E.J. Bradley)
Leonard Bullock .... parking production assistant
George Bunce .... 2K conform
Nissa Ren Cannon .... assistant: Silverwood Films (as Nissa Canon)
Victoria Carter .... office intern
Riddick Claudia .... parking production assistant
Mark De Pace .... assistant location manager (as Mark Depace)
Craig DiFolco .... assistant: Hunting Lane Films
Leo Driver .... parking coordinator
Joe Facey .... caterer
Darin Frank .... legal counsel
Stacy Frankel .... assistant: Original Media
Amparo Garcia .... set intern
Gina Gordon .... clearance supervisor (as Gina P. Gordon)
Steven Gorel .... office intern
Scott Greene .... parking production assistant
Shawn Hamilton .... production accountant
John Henry .... assistant production coordinator
James Hundley .... parking production assistant
Ilana Lifshitz .... payroll accountant
Melissa Lucier .... office intern
Anthony Martinez .... parking production assistant
Marcy McKenzie .... location manager
Tony Osso .... script supervisor
Jillian Paul .... office intern
Alyson Perlongo .... assistant: Original Media
Justin Rigby .... key set production assistant
Morgan Roberts .... set intern
Adam Salky .... assistant: Hunting Lane Films
Sofie Sandberg .... set intern
Michael Sapia .... parking production assistant
Ashley Sawyer .... set intern
Lara Sfire .... office production assistant
David Sheffield .... set intern
Howard Shipman .... parking production assistant
Kareem Taylor .... set intern
Joe Wehmeyer .... key set production assistant
Rachel Williams .... office intern
Sam Yoo .... location intern
Jay Duplass .... thanks
Craig Kestel .... special thanks
Scott Macaulay .... thanks
Rachel McAdams .... thanks
Jeremy Pikser .... special thanks
Michelle Satter .... special thanks
Gary Winick .... thanks
Boaz Yakin .... thanks
Howard Zinn .... thanks

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
Rated R for drug content throughout, language and some sexuality
106 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.85 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:

Did You Know?

When on the subject, Ryan Gosling's character says "It's just not cool to be a Nazi anymore, baby." Gosling played a Neo-Nazi in 'The Believer'.See more »
Dan:Second chances are rare, man. You ought to take better advantage of them.See more »
Movie Connections:
References How the Grinch Stole Christmas! (1966) (TV)See more »
Chad's Favorite SongSee more »


This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
173 out of 204 people found the following review useful.
Gritty and sensitive, 4 September 2006
Author: Howard Schumann from Vancouver, B.C.

Set in Brooklyn, New York where he currently lives, Ryan Fleck's first full-length feature, Half Nelson, is a gritty, sensitive, and emotionally harrowing film that meticulously avoids the inspirational clichés of many teacher-student films and the obligatory violence of films set in the ghetto. The title is derived from a wrestling move in which you turn an attacker's strength back on him. In the case of Dan Dunne (Ryan Gosling), an idealistic eight-grade history teacher in an inner city school, he turns the attack on himself, inspiring his students by day and drugging himself at night with crack cocaine.

Dan is a well-liked teacher and basketball coach whose parents (Deborah Rush and Jay O. Sanders) were liberal activists during the 60s and 70s, participating in protests against the Vietnam War but have now substituted alcoholism for political passion. Like his parents, he wants to make an impact on the world but is disillusioned with the current political climate and, out of frustration and fatigue, (like many on the Left today) has drifted into a self-induced stupor. Believing in social justice and that society can be changed through education, he teaches history, to the chagrin of the school's administrator, in the form of Hegelian dialectic, showing that change results from a clash of opposites.

Dan shows his students videos of seminal events from the last fifty years such as the 1954 Brown vs. Board of Education ruling that paved the way for desegregation of the schools, clips from the civil rights movement, and Mario Savio speaking on the Berkeley campus during the Free Speech Movement. To its credit, the events in the film do not occur in a political vacuum but attempts to tie in the failed protests of the Left to Dan's drug habit are not entirely persuasive. Dunne's life begins to spiral out of control when one of his students, thirteen-year old Drey (Shareeka Epps), discovers him in the girl's bathroom passed out from ingesting cocaine. Instead of becoming frightened or angry, Drey brings him water and helps him to gradually come down from his high.

Drey comes from a family in which her mother works a double shift and is rarely at home, her father is out of town, and her older brother is in prison for selling drugs, but she is mature and street-wise beyond her age. She promises to keep his secret and both find that their unlikely friendship satisfies an emotional need that Drey cannot find with her classmates and Dan cannot find with other adults. He is dating a fellow teacher (Monique Curnen) but his behavior with her is erratic and his political speeches and drug habits soon turn her off. A former girl friend from his period of rehabilitation (which he said didn't work for him) tells him that she is now getting married which pushes him further into a downward trajectory.

The emotional highlight of the film is a confrontation between Dunne and Frank (Anthony Mackie), a suave drug dealer and associate of Drey's older brother who recruits Drey to be his collector. While Dan wants to steer Drey in the right direction, he is hardly a role model and the results, while promising, are inconclusive. Although the premise of the film is somewhat implausible, Gosling's performance of the charming but flawed teacher is completely credible, so nuanced and touching that we root for him in spite of his capacity for self-destruction. Shareeka Epps is equally convincing in her powerfully understated performance as his tough but sensitive young friend. Co-written by Anna Boden and supported by an outstanding original score by Broken Social Scene, Half Nelson "stands and delivers" one of the finest films of the year.

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Motel scene.. gdengve
Watch the basketballs, ok honey? adamdaydream
Half Nelson Full Crap mokf6
why did he act withdrawn after the date? DinahtheCat
Why did his cat die? mccart-richie
Is it typical in America for black kids to have a white teacher? fane232000
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