Review 92 – Half Nelson

filmquest12

Sometimes basketball coaches and troubled young players need each other more than they realize.

Half Nelson

Why I Saw It: Ryan Gosling is a talented actor, and while I can’t decide whether he’s on my “seek out” list or not, he certainly seems worthy of the research.

What Was It About? A basketball-coaching high school history teacher tries to help one of his students escape the trappings of the inner-city drug culture while he struggles with addiction.

Rating: 7.8 out of 10

Memorable Performances: This was a great performance from Ryan Gosling, on par with everything else I’ve seen from him aside from Lars And The Real Girl, which is still probably his best role. Shareeka Epps also does a great job, and I’ll be keeping an eye out for more from her.

Potential Nominations for Film Quest ’12:  

  • Best Actor – Ryan Gosling
  • Best Supporting Actress – Shareeka Epps

Favorite Parts: I felt like the scene where Gosling’s character goes to talk to Anthony Mackie’s character was excellent, avoiding typical conventions of storytelling and adding more depth to Gosling’s character. Some of the classroom stuff was great, as was the scene where it all culminates for both of the main characters.

The Regrettable Aspects: The ending just didn’t do it for me. There should’ve been more, much more. It could’ve been far more uplifting, and yet it just felt unfinished.

Would I watch it again? Maybe. It was a slow moving film without many “uplifting” aspects to it, so I can’t see myself approaching this one again anytime soon.

To Whom Would I Recommend It? To anyone who really wants to know what kind of talent Ryan Gosling has, I’d name this as one of the main films they should be watching.

Next up, Harsh Times.

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3 responses to “Review 92 – Half Nelson

  1. Great movie and wonderful performance from Gosling, Epps, and Mackie. They don’t make them quite as realistic and honest as this anymore. Good review.

    • Thanks Dan! I totally agree, there’s not enough movies with this much “grey” area. What Gosling’s character does on his last “date” with the other teacher? Who would’ve expected that sort of thing to happen with the protagonist in a Ryan Gosling movie?! Incredibly brave decisions were made in putting together this plot.

  2. The Regrettable Aspects: The ending just didn’t do it for me. There should’ve been more, much more. It could’ve been far more uplifting, and yet it just felt unfinished.


    I agree with you there. I didn’t care much for the film, it featured some terrific performance though.

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