Half Nelson

Half Nelson

Genre:  Indie
Directed by: 
Ryan Fleck
Starring:  Ryan Gosling, Shareeka Epps, Anthony Mackie

An unmounted camera can leave an audience dizzy. Although a good percentage of Half Nelson was filmed with handheld super-8, the story itself is far from dizzy. It’s quite focused. This film is different from others that feature tweakers—The Salton Sea, Requiem for a Dream, Spun. This isn’t about the glamour vs. horror of crack. It’s not about making statements to generalize a segment of misfits. What makes this film different? The story is personal. It’s about individuals and how their lives are affected. It’s about an 8th grade teacher and basketball coach caught by one of his students hitting the pipe in the girl’s locker room. It’s about a 13-year old girl who’s smart enough to ask questions that matter.

Ryan Gosling plays the part well. His character is developed not so much in what he says, but more through what he doesn’t say. And young Shareeka Epps is flawless, another example of less is more. What if your favorite teacher was cracked? Scary thought. This is a heavy movie.

I was hooked from the first preview—This song is called Half Nelson for those times when you’re feeling kinda stuck. The song Ryan Gosling is referring to is Half Nelson by Miles Davis.

Half Nelson website


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