Half Nelson Reviews

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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.
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 20, 2007
Dunne [Gosling] is an enjoyable and impressive creation, justifiably recognised with an Oscar nomination for Gosling earlier this year.
April 20, 2007
It's the gritty script and sheer quality of the performances that distinguish this parable.
April 17, 2007
It takes a while to settle into the rhythm (feeling episodic at first), but Half Nelson soon takes hold with a vice-like grip.
October 30, 2006
Gosling and Epps, an unusual but effective pairing, show real commitment in their performances.
October 20, 2006
The movie comes down to Gosling's spot-on performance and how we feel about it.
October 7, 2006
Gosling is indeed amazing as a bewildered, depressed New York schoolteacher who is slipping into dire drug addiction; it's exactly the kind of star turn in a smaller film that Academy voters could (and should) notice.
October 6, 2006
Although the subject promises more than the film can deliver, there is compensation in Gosling's convincing, unromanticized portrayal of someone seeking escape from longing and loss that neither he nor the movie can really define.
September 27, 2006
This movie... is concerned with an even greater achievement that is generally unacknowledged: how people -- flawed, miserable, frustrated people -- go to work every day and find a way to care about something beyond themselves, despite themselves.
September 21, 2006
For a solid 107 minutes, Gosling shapes his character into a flesh-and-blood tone poem.
September 15, 2006
It'll be weeks before I shake off [Gosling's] performance -- or the shadows of this small, extraordinary narrative-feature debut from filmmaking partners Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden.
September 15, 2006
The tone is even and thorough, the performances restrained and believable, the implied future bleak yet somehow satisfying.
September 15, 2006
One might also argue that a crack addict couldn't be responsible enough to be a good teacher, but he's the most believable protagonist in any American movie I've seen this year.
September 14, 2006
Ryan Gosling is electrifying in the role, delivering a performance that is sure to catapult him into the front ranks of stardom.
September 14, 2006
A wholly absorbing and delicately shaded portrait of an educator played by Ryan Gosling, a young man harboring an offstage secret.
September 8, 2006
In the endlessly surprising Half Nelson, all those upbeat, Hollywood clichs about well-meaning outsiders making a difference are turned on their heads.
September 8, 2006
Gosling anchors the picture, and Epps ... has a kind of grace, presence and knowingness that far more experienced actors struggle vainly to find.
September 8, 2006
Gritty and terrifically human, Half Nelson is not your big brother's Hollywood high school movie.
September 7, 2006
It's interested in how real people, not movie characters, might act in the situation. It is about all the gray areas, all the complexities, all the layers of meaning.
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