“Half Nelson”

halfnelson.jpgRyan Gosling
Shareeka Epps
Anthony Mackie

R           106min           2006

“Half Nelson” is about an inner-city junior high school teacher with a drug habit forming an unlikely friendship with one of his student athletes after she discovers his secret.

This movie is captivating, moving and believable. It’s a story told many times before but this time it was refreshing to see in done so spectacularly. Gosling and Epps performances are what drive this film. It’s a film that should be at the top of every critics list.

From the opening scene of this film is captures your attention. With Hollywood and it over inflated ego, indie films are the valves of good quality film. “Half Nelson” doesn’t beat you over the head with its story but gives you a sharp taste of reality. It shows how you can find an ally and a friend in the strangest of places.

Ryan Gosling is one of Young Hollywood’s Top Actors and he shines in this part. “Half Nelson” definitely shows why he is deserving of all accolades. If you passed him on the street in character you would believe he had a problem. He balanced the thin line his character walked beautifully; but not to be out done by his co-star Shareeka Epps. Shareeka Epps performance is equally believable. It’s her performance that grounds this film. You see her struggle between what is right and what is easy. It shows how easily kids can be influenced to fall or rise.

“Half Nelson” is a stark reminder of the struggles faced in the street of American. That the problems faced by inner city are strong and seductive to not only children, but adults as well. ‘Half Nelson’ shows that we all need allies and connection in life. It’s this strange and wonderful connection that influence and shape the people we were, the people are, and the people we will be.

It tells a strong emotional tale that is entertaining and enjoyable even though the conflict is a strong one to handle. The performance by Ryan Gosling and Shareeka Epps deserve award nominations. ‘Half Nelson’ shows that connections are made in the most unlikely of situations. It’s a film that you will be disappointed that you were late to the party on.

“Half Nelson” has few special features, nothing special. It has a Director/Writer Commentary, outtakes, deleted and extended scenes. It also has a musical video by RhymeFest. It has movie previews of ‘Dreamland’, ‘American Hardcore: A Tribal History’ and ‘Running With Scissors’.

I give it 5/5 GS.


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