• R, 1 hr. 27 min.
  • Drama
  • Directed By:
    Ryan Fleck
    In Theaters:
    Aug 11, 2006 Wide
    On DVD:
    Apr 24, 2007
  • ThinkFilm

Opening

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Half Nelson Reviews

Page 1 of 8
Felix Vasquez Jr.
Cinema Crazed

A fantastic merging of talents into a pure piece of art...

Full Review Source: Cinema Crazed

April 12, 2014
Charles Cassady
Common Sense Media

Indie inner-city drama with drug-addict teacher.

Full Review Source: Common Sense Media | Original Score: 4/5

December 15, 2010
Nick Rogers
Suite101.com

"Half Nelson" elegantly tiptoe around its elephant in the room: Dan's most compelling instruction to not let Drey enter the drug trade is his own destruction. That point of panic turns into something approaching penance.

Full Review Source: Suite101.com | Original Score: 4/4

September 24, 2010
Fernando F. Croce
CinePassion

The filmmakers bask disingenuously in their tidy vision of border-busting healing

Full Review Source: CinePassion

August 30, 2009
Peter Keough
Boston Phoenix

A sometimes subtle, sometimes bombastic (Gosling's performance ranges from brilliant to bug-eyed) parable about class, race, power, and the dialectics of family relationships.

Full Review Source: Boston Phoenix | Original Score: 2.5/4

April 23, 2009
Cole Smithey
ColeSmithey.com

The movie hits a stream of false notes when Dunne's students deliver oral reports on Civil Rights struggles that could only have been plagiarized. The film's ending isn't only meager, it's utterly listless.

Full Review Source: ColeSmithey.com | Original Score: C

April 22, 2009
Bob Mondello
NPR.org
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Ryan Gosling's self-destructive teacher is easily the year's most mesmerizing character study. And he's hardly the only reason to see this film. Shareeka Epps anchors her scenes as Drey with a self-possession way beyond her years.

Full Review Source: NPR.org

October 18, 2008
Heather Huntington
ReelzChannel.com

Gosling is up for an Oscar (R) for his work in Half Nelson, and there's no question he earned the nomination.

Full Review Source: ReelzChannel.com | Original Score: 8/10

August 23, 2008
Brandon Fibbs
BrandonFibbs.com

Half Nelson trades melodrama for authenticity, cliche heroics for genuine heart, cheap cinematic parlor tricks for blessed restraint.

Full Review Source: BrandonFibbs.com | Original Score: 8/10

February 28, 2008
Joe Lozito
Big Picture Big Sound

We've gotten so close to these characters (and they to each other) that we don't want to let them go.

Full Review Source: Big Picture Big Sound | Original Score: 3.5/4

July 14, 2007
Philip French
Observer [UK]

It is, in fact, a fine piece of work: reticent, intelligent, wholly devoid of triumphalism or self-pity.

Full Review Source: Observer [UK]

April 28, 2007
Sandra Hall
Sydney Morning Herald

It's hardly a film which trumpets its virtues but that's part of the pleasure to be had from it. It doesn't know how good it is.

Full Review Source: Sydney Morning Herald | Original Score: 4/5

April 27, 2007
Prairie Miller
WBAI Web Radio

While the students first mock Marxist dialectics and notions of oppression applied to the everyday, they are eventually eagerly embracing the rebellious spirit of Attica and Allende in class presentations that provide euphoric momentum.

Full Review Source: WBAI Web Radio

April 22, 2007
Urban Cinefile Critics
Urban Cinefile

Looks to me like a self conscious film that thrives on its own negativity. Studied, anti-establishment, arthouse cinema that gloats over its moral superiority %u2013 which is rather ironic.

Full Review Source: Urban Cinefile

April 21, 2007

Daily Mirror [UK]

It's a thoughtful character study with Gosling simply tremendous as the functioning addict, who seems to use crack to anaesthetise him from his inability to form adult relationships.

Full Review Source: Daily Mirror [UK] | Original Score: 3/5

April 20, 2007
Andy Lowe
Total Film

A riveting study in dislocation and connection, hurt and healing, with Gosling revealed as potentially the most gifted actor of his generation.

Full Review Source: Total Film | Original Score: 5/5

April 20, 2007
Tim Robey
Daily Telegraph

It's impressively adult, sure-footed filmmaking, and that Best Actor nod was definitely deserved.

Full Review Source: Daily Telegraph

April 20, 2007
Andrew Pulver
Guardian

Dunne [Gosling] is an enjoyable and impressive creation, justifiably recognised with an Oscar nomination for Gosling earlier this year.

Full Review Source: Guardian | Original Score: 3/5

April 20, 2007
James Christopher
Times [UK]

It's the gritty script and sheer quality of the performances that distinguish this parable.

Full Review Source: Times [UK] | Original Score: 4/5

April 20, 2007
Anton Bitel
Film4

High ideals clash with Bush-era realities in this class debut - well balanced, wonderfully performed, and refreshingly free from cliche.

Full Review Source: Film4 | Original Score: 4/5

April 20, 2007
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