All member reviews for Half Nelson

Common Sense Media says

Indie inner-city drama with drug-addict teacher.

Users say

(out of 2 reviews)
age 15+
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Adult Written byPollyRoger April 9, 2008

Great indie movie

This is one of those movies that I could not get out of my head for days. It was a great, realistic story of a drug-addicted teacher who balances his love and concern for his students with his addiction. It's an accurate portrayal of human nature, and it conveys the fact that just because a person does something wrong, it doesn't make them a bad person. The movie was appropriately rated R. There were around 30 f-words, and numerous other profanities throughout. The drug content was detailed. We see a couple having sex, but nothing in detail, and it's shown in short clips, not the whole seen at once. Danny does almost rape his girlfriend, but it's nothing detailed, and nothing more than would be shown on some TV shows. Overall, I think this is a good movie for adults. Definitely not for kids.
Teen, 16 years old Written byRainy Day October 3, 2010


"Half Nelson" is not a movie about drugs. It is rather, a meditation on overcoming addiction, as well as a very human portrait of unlikely friendship. Ryan Gosling gives the performance of a lifetime as the washed-up Dan, a drug-addicted teacher who's empathetic and warm and fragile at the same time. Shareeka Epps, the twelve-year-old black student who befriends Dan, is also terrific as the female lead. But the reason the movie shines is because first-time directors Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck have infused a contemporary work that is gritty and evocative with the message that hope is never far away. (There are moments of inappropriate language, some sexuality, as well as numerous shots of cocaine inhalation and drug use, but they can easily be fast-forwarded.) Overall, Half Nelson is an indie film that is beautiful and relatively unknown, but still can be experienced by teens and adults for the first time.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Great messages