One Thing Does Not Make a Man

16 Sep

Chances are good you’ve never heard of Half Nelson, but it’s the kind of small, independent movie you should seek out as the weather turns cooler and the “better” movies come out. It’s a film about a guy named Dan (Ryan Gosling, who you might know from The Notebook), who teaches eighth grade in New York City and also has an awful addiction to cocaine. In the classroom, he’s largely in control and the students seem to actually respect him. Out of class, however, he’s a mess. And then, one night he’s caught by one of his students (Shareeka Epps) doing drugs in the locker room. The two form a strange friendship that transcends the teacher-student dynamic. That’s basically the crux of the film; there’s no other plot to explain. But this is an intense character study, and Gosling is simply great in the role. It’s a terrific performance. The film itself is not the most exciting one you’ll see all year, but it’s worth watching. I give it an A–.

One Response to “One Thing Does Not Make a Man”

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  1. All for Love « Martin's Musings - June 19, 2012

    […] Gosling shows a side of himself that has heretofore been hidden in films like Half Nelson and Blue Valentine. You’d have to go back to Lars and the Real Girl to see him play a role […]

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