Half Nelson Reviews

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March 9, 2019
High ideals clash with Bush-era realities in this class debut - well balanced, wonderfully performed, and refreshingly free from cliché.
April 12, 2014
A fantastic merging of talents into a pure piece of art...
December 15, 2010
Indie inner-city drama with drug-addict teacher.
September 24, 2010
"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.
August 30, 2009
The filmmakers bask disingenuously in their tidy vision of border-busting healing
April 23, 2009
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.
April 22, 2009
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.
October 18, 2008
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.
October 18, 2008
August 23, 2008
Gosling is up for an Oscar (R) for his work in Half Nelson, and there's no question he earned the nomination.
February 28, 2008
Half Nelson trades melodrama for authenticity, cliche heroics for genuine heart, cheap cinematic parlor tricks for blessed restraint.
October 12, 2007
This is a brave, smart and sensitive film.
July 14, 2007
We've gotten so close to these characters (and they to each other) that we don't want to let them go.
April 28, 2007
It is, in fact, a fine piece of work: reticent, intelligent, wholly devoid of triumphalism or self-pity.
April 27, 2007
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.
April 22, 2007
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.
April 21, 2007
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.
April 20, 2007
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.
April 20, 2007
A riveting study in dislocation and connection, hurt and healing, with Gosling revealed as potentially the most gifted actor of his generation.
April 20, 2007
It's impressively adult, sure-footed filmmaking, and that Best Actor nod was definitely deserved.
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