7.2/10
80,554
201 user 215 critic

Half Nelson (2006)

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2:21 | Trailer

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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.

Director:

Ryan Fleck
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 29 wins & 47 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Ryan Gosling ... Dan Dunne
Jeff Lima ... Roodly
Shareeka Epps ... Drey
Nathan Corbett ... Terrance
Tyra Kwao-Vovo Tyra Kwao-Vovo ... Stacy
Rosemary Ledee Rosemary Ledee ... Gina
Tristan Mack Wilds ... Jamal (as Tristan Wilds)
Bryce Silver Bryce Silver ... Bernard
Kaela C. Pabon Kaela C. Pabon ... Lena
Erica Rivera Erica Rivera ... Erika (as Erika Rivera)
Stephanie Bast ... Vanessa
Eleanor Hutchins ... Simone
Sebastian Sozzi ... Javier
Tina Holmes ... Rachel
Karen Chilton ... Karen
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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:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

22 September 2006 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Fél Nelson See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$700,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$53,983, 13 August 2006

Gross USA:

$2,694,973, 10 December 2006
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Was originally made as the short film Gowanus, Brooklyn (2004), which won an award at the Sundance Film Festival. Shareeka Epps and Karen Chilton reprise their roles as Drey and Drey's mother. Matt Kerr, who plays the substitute teacher Mr. Light in this film, played Mr. Dunne in the original short. See more »

Quotes

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 »

Connections

References Romper Room and Friends (1953) See more »

Soundtracks

Soho Dancer
Written and Performed by Stanton Davis
Published by Delta Six Music, Inc.
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User Reviews

 
Bear with it...it truly is brilliant.
25 April 2007 | by illbilly-1See all my reviews

Half Nelson, to be totally honest, does tend to drag you along because the theme and story definitely aren't gripping. In fact, here's the summary: A drug addict history teacher and a clever young black student develop a strong friendship and end up changing each other's lives. Sound boring? I thought so but the raving about Ryan Gosling and his Oscar nominated performance attracted me and plus I've got a lot of free time in my hands as well. By the way, he was brilliant for an actor of his experience and definitely deserved the nomination....but just the nomination since he really had no chance against Forest Whitaker (The Last King of Scotland). Anyway if you start watching the movie and you think "Damn! This is too slow and the plot isn't going anywhere" don't give up just bear with it till the end and I guarantee you'll feel fully satisfied and that you've just watched a brilliant piece of art.

The message is another thing to rave about as well because the movie isn't only trying to tell the viewers that "drugs are bad...especially if you're a teacher" but also you'll note that the main character (Ryan) has no racial distinction. And he feels that Blacks and Whites shouldn't be judged differently and it will probably make anyone who watches it feel the same way....or at least most of us (I really can't imagine a member of the KKK's view of black people alter in the slightest after watching it.) But the message is powerful and beautiful and I felt very good inside after watching it. My point here is that don't only expect an amazing performance but also an amazing movie in general. I'd give it 7/10.


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