(Adam Bell)


Half Nelson

Genre: Drama; Starring: Shareeka Epps, Ryan Gosling, Anthony Mackie; Director: Ryan Fleck; Author: Anna Boden, Ryan Fleck; Runtime (in minutes): 107; MPAA Rating: R; Distributor: THINKFilm

White teacher (Ryan Gosling) saves urban youth. It’s a Hollywood cliché, but in Half Nelson, when a student (Shareeka Epps) catches Mr. Dunne smoking crack in the girls’ locker room, the two are irrevocably entangled in each other’s precarious lives. EXTRAS Gosling’s vulnerable turn (and Oscar nom) solidifies him as a major dramatic talent, though he lightens up in a series of outtakes punctuated by goofy thumbs-ups. ”Gowanus, Brooklyn,” the 19-minute short (starring Epps) that inspired Nelson, would’ve been nice extra credit, but its absence is this DVD’s only demerit. A

Originally posted February 12 2007 — 12:00 AM EST

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