Half Nelson

DVD - 2007
Average Rating: 3 stars out of 5.
Half Nelson
A high school teacher with a drug habit finds a friendship in an unlikely source - one of his troubled students. Will their relationship help them or harm them?


From the critics

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Dec 19, 2014
  • Nursebob rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Dan Dunne is a highschool history teacher who’s learned nothing from his own past. By day he’s a charismatic educator and hardworking coach for the girl’s basketball team but at night he indulges his insatiable appetites for crack cocaine and cheap sex. Like most addicts Dan believes himself to be in control of both his drug use and his professional life until he’s discovered smoking in the girls’ room by 13-year old Drey, a bright young student with enough problems of her own. A hesitant friendship slowly develops between the two as they discover they may have more in common than they thought. Fleck firmly avoids the cinematic hyperbole inherent in these types of films; there are no healing hugs, 12-step platitudes or tearful trips to rehab. Instead we see two fully realized human beings who, despite their vastly different backgrounds, are drawn to each other’s pain for reasons entirely their own. Using naturalistic dialogue, handheld camerawork and a funky score, Fleck gives his film an unpolished street-level authenticity further enhanced by some amazing performances. The film does falter somewhat when it tries to ramp up the dramatic irony. Dunne’s classroom lectures on the importance of “change” and “turning points” in respect to history (usually delivered while hungover) are glaring examples of this as are the historical asides delivered by various students; the narrative relevance between covert CIA atrocities and Dunne’s own self-deception is tenuous at best. And a strategically-placed “stars’n’stripes” bandaid is pure overkill. Still, this is one of the most engrossing character-driven dramas I’ve seen in years. Ryan Gosling and Shareeka Epps play off one another beautifully while their final scene, if not exactly uplifting, at least hints at the possibility of mutual salvation.

Aug 23, 2014
  • aaa5756 rated this: 2 stars out of 5.

It was O.K for a home TV movie. I was entertained and interesting. But it was NOT worth the long library wait or the price to rent from a Red Box. I fast forwarded a lot but not all the way.

Feb 11, 2014
  • 0cho rated this: 2.5 stars out of 5.

This movie was a disappoint with all the good reviews it got. This movie is basically about the day in the life of a drug addict teacher. Nothing really big here.

Nov 02, 2013
  • lukasevansherman rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

I really liked this movie and Ryan Gosling is great, but I'm not sure why it's not called "My Teacher Smokes Crack."

Jun 18, 2012
  • VRMurphy rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

Excellent acting and writing, but a depressing story.

May 03, 2012
  • milulu rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

Acting was great but the movie is a bit boring at times.

Dec 15, 2011
  • smfilm rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

A modern masterpiece.

Jul 31, 2011
  • bdls206 rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Good movie, especially considering it was shot in 23 days. If you like darker movies, then this one is for you. Great acting, and a great script make this a must see.

Mar 05, 2010
  • redwallflower rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

While stories of teachers having an impact on troubled teenagers are plenty, it was a nice change to see the teacher in a vulnerable position as well.

I'd recommend this film to others.

Apr 26, 2009
  • Cabby rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Ryan Gosling nominated for best actor Oscar.


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Jul 31, 2011
  • bdls206 rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

bdls206 thinks this title is suitable for 17 years and over

Apr 18, 2009
  • zorg rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

zorg thinks this title is suitable for 11 years and over


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Jul 31, 2011
  • bdls206 rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

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.

Apr 18, 2009
  • zorg rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

A very talented young teacher, also a cocaine addict becomes friends with one of his students, who happens to be the person who is dealing the cocaine.
It is up to her to feed his addiction, get money for her struggling family, or do what she knows will be best for her friend.


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Jul 31, 2011
  • bdls206 rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Coarse Language: This title contains Coarse Language.


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Jul 31, 2011
  • bdls206 rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Dan: Change moves in spirals, not circles. For example, the sun goes up and then it goes down. But every time that happens, what do you get? You get a new day. You get a new one. When you breathe, you inhale and you exhale, but every single time that you do that you're a little bit different then the one before. We're always changing. And its important to know that there are some changes you can't control and that there are others you can.

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