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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

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: [after seeing one of the students cheating on the test] Unbelievable! What you're doing?
See more »

Connections

Version of Gowanus, Brooklyn (2004) See more »

Soundtracks

Shampoo Suicide
Written and Performed by Broken Social Scene
Published by Arts & Crafts Music
Licensed Courtesy of Arts & Crafts Records
From the album "You Forgot It in People"
See more »

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User Reviews

 
The Life You Save May Be Your Own
7 June 2009 | by wes-connorsSee all my reviews

"Ryan Gosling stars as Dan Dunne, a young teacher whose edgy yet brilliant approach to history inspires his inner-city students to think for themselves. But, outside the classroom, Dan's life is spiraling out of control. Wrestling with inner demons and nursing a serious drug habit, Dan finally hits rock bottom - witnessed by one of his troubled students, Drey (Shareeka Epps). With an unlikely friendship built on a shared secret, Dan tries to steer her away from a small-time drug dealer (Anthony Mackie). But no matter which way they turn to survive, their lives will change forever," according to the film's official synopsis.

"Half Nelson" suffers from too much of the wobbly "hand held" camera technique which, frankly, isn't necessary to make the film look more realistic. Yet, the story, by director Ryan Fleck and partner Anna Boden, and characterizations are good enough to overcome this distraction. The marvelously written screenplay is full of nuances, which serve the main point - showing the interconnecting ways drug addiction can infect the human spirit, when people like those played by Mr. Gosling and Ms. Epps are needed to play much more positive roles in a troubled world.

Gosling's "Academy Award" nomination for "Best Actor" is clearly understandable; and, Epps could have easily won some "Best Supporting Actress" consideration. At least, the "Independent Spirit Awards" recognized the memorable pair's delicately played teacher/student roles. Everyone else in the cast is excellent, as well. And, the non-melodramatic ending leaves "Half Nelson" full of hope.

******* Half Nelson (3/22/06) Ryan Fleck ~ Ryan Gosling, Shareeka Epps, Anthony Mackie, Monique Gabriela Curnen


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