7.2/10
78,900
197 user 213 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
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Popularity
3,479 ( 1,392)
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 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

The school used in the film (with the bright "Neon Celery" and "Key Lime" colored classroom doors), was painted by students from the school through an innovative nonprofit youth development program called Publicolor in NYC. See more »

Quotes

Dan: Who might say that Aristotle's wrong, right? But that doesn't make any sense; these things need each other. The idea that... that all God's creations are perfect, perfect - so just to suggest that - that a tree it's - it's crooked and it's straight... it's strong and it's weak... is to suggest that - that God created something imperfect. They do however acknowledge it in people; we are sinners but we can strive to be good just not in nature itself I guess.
See more »


Soundtracks

Someone's Theme
Written and Performed by Broken Social Scene
Published by Arts & Crafts Music
Licensed Courtesy of Arts & Crafts Records
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User Reviews

 
Half Nelson--a moving and thought-provoking film
22 May 2006 | by ligayaSee all my reviews

I saw Half Nelson twice at the San Francisco International Film Festival and liked it even better the second time. Each actor is memorable and convincing. Ryan Gosling is amazing as Dan, a charismatic but drug addicted teacher—an academy award level performance. Gosling was voted best actor at Sundance, 2006, in an IndieWire poll, which also picked Half Nelson as best film. Shareeka Epps is equally riveting as Drey, the student who learns his secret, voted best actress in the Sundance IndieWire poll. Epps also led the list of six of this year's breakthrough performances by the New York Times. Anthony Mackie is anything but predictable as a local drug dealer. Half Nelson packs an emotional wallop, but also has solid political and philosophical substance. Here are comments from ten viewers at the SF Festival where it won the International Critics Prize (FIPRESCI). This prize is established at international film festivals, and its aim is to promote film art and to particularly encourage new and young cinema.

"Intense, deep, human, scary, dark, sad, happy, hopeful, depressing, awesome. . ." "Great story. Great film. I enjoyed it a lot. A lot to learn from this film." "Wonderful character development (and great actors!) Very real movie." "Makes you think. Loved it." "Great acting to go along with the wonderful writing. I only hope they both make it through (Drey and Dan)." "Beautifully shot, beautifully acted, and just like life in which ideals can float on top of emotional turmoil and children teach teachers." "Outstanding. Very creative and absorbing." "Enjoyed the film, especially the close shots, which added to my initial discomfort and eventual resonance with the themes of closeness and discomfort." "Great movie. Lots of complex characters. Loved the historical political references." "Half Nelson isn't half bad! In fact, it's rather perfect."


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