Sunday, March 22, 2009

Half Nelson (2006) R - 3½ Stars

This is a great little movie about an young student and her drug addicted teacher, that form an unlikely bond of friendship. Shareeka Epps is outstanding as Drey, an African American student, who catches her teacher doing drugs in the bathroom. Ryan Gosling plays is very convincing strung out teacher on the verge of snapping while he tries to keep his student away from the drugs he's addicted to.

Dan Dunne (Ryan Gosling), a white junior high school teacher in an inner city school, genuinely cares for his less than fortunate students. Most of these kids have more opportunities to turn to the streets, making money delivering drugs, then caring about a good education. Drey (Shareeka Epps), is one of Dan's smarter sassier students and her participation in class, helps get the others children involved. The two have a connection that inspires Drey to listen and Dan hang on to his teaching career. Dan's a good teacher, but his secret side often finds him slipping away from class to feed his addiction. An addiction that is becoming overwhelming stronger and Drey becomes witness to an episode of his in the bathroom. Drey feels like Dan is her friend and promises she won't mention anything. But when Dan finds Drey running drugs on the streets, he has to make a choice of saving the both of them.

Awards include:

2006 - Half Nelson - American Film Institute - Best Picture
2006 - Half Nelson - Independent Spirit Awards - Best Actress
2006 - Half Nelson - New York Film Critics Society - Best Actor - Runner-up
2006 - Half Nelson - Boston Society of Film Critics - Best New Filmmaker

Director: Ryan Fleck
Writers: Ryan Fleck, Anna Boden
Producers: Lynette Howell, Rosanne Korenberg, Ryan Fleck
I viewed 3/09

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