7.2/10
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195 user 209 critic

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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3,682 ( 387)
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 29 wins & 47 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
... Dan Dunne
... Roodly
... Drey
... Terrance
Tyra Kwao-Vovo ... Stacy
Rosemary Ledee ... Gina
... Jamal (as Tristan Wilds)
Bryce Silver ... Bernard
Kaela C. Pabon ... Lena
Erica Rivera ... Erika (as Erika Rivera)
Stephanie Bast ... Vanessa
... Simone
... Javier
... 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:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

22 September 2006 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Fél Nelson  »

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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

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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 »

Quotes

Cindy: Knock, knock.
Dan: [rolling his eyes but gamely playing along] Who's there?
Cindy: The Interrupting Cow.
Dan: The Interru...
Cindy: Moooooo!
See more »

Connections

Featured in Maltin on Movies: Back to School Special (2012) 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"
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User Reviews

 
HALF NELSON...A Ryan Gosling Film Triumph
26 August 2006 | by See all my reviews

Ryan Gosling delivers a performance in HALF NELSON that is a marvel to watch and to see the talent which this young man/actor brings to the film and screen. Every frame delivers the intensity and drama within this young teacher's life and the issues he handles with his addiction and how he strives to reach his students in the classroom through honesty, humor and the lessons of history delivered on screen.

Just watching Gosling in every frame is a triumph in what character development is all about, along with the brilliance of his performance. Gosling adds HALF NELSON to his outstanding work in the films THE UNITED STATES OF LELAND and the gorgeous NOTEBOOK.

Shareeka Epps as a young, struggling student, is a perfect foil to Gosling, and her intelligence and strength matches that of Gosling as they both deliver scenes that are memorable and tremendous. From the classroom to the basketball court, to the painful addiction scenes, Epps and Gosling make HALF NELSON come alive with anger, pain and the true pathos of life represented in America today.

With the final scene in the film, one can only hope that the characters may move from despair into lives which might give them a sense of hope, and finally a chance, as with the lessons of history, to move beyond their unhappy past into a brighter and more rewarding future.


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