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Half Nelson

Still of Anthony Mackie and Shareeka Epps in Half NelsonStill of Ryan Gosling and Shareeka Epps in Half NelsonDeborah Rush at event of Half NelsonStill of Ryan Gosling in Half NelsonStill of Anthony Mackie in Half NelsonStill of Shareeka Epps in Half Nelson


An inner-city junior high school teacher with a drug habit forms an unlikely friendship with one of his students after she discovers his secret.

Release Year: 2006

Rating: 7.4/10 (33,332 voted)

Critic's Score: 85/100

Ryan Fleck

Stars: Ryan Gosling, Anthony Mackie, Shareeka Epps

Young Caucasian Dan Dunne teaches history and coaches the girls basketball team at a Brooklyn high school populated primarily by black and Hispanic students. To the chagrin of his superiors, Dan bucks the outlined curriculum of historical facts in favor of the philosophy of historical events, generally discussing the concept of dialectics. As such, he captures the imagination of his students, at least in the classroom. Outside of the classroom, Dan's life is in shambles. He has a distant but cordial relationship with his family. He uses illicit drugs rampantly. Although his former girlfriend Rachel was able to clean up her drug habit, Dan believes that rehab will not work for him. Due to a combination of these issues, he treats women poorly. Thirteen year old Drey is a student in his class and a player on his basketball team. Drey has her own problems. Her parents are divorced, with…

Writers: Ryan Fleck, Anna Boden


Ryan Gosling

Dan Dunne

Jeff Lima


Shareeka Epps


Nathan Corbett


Tyra Kwao-Vovo


Rosemary Ledee


Tristan Wilds


Bryce Silver


Kaela C. Pabon


Erica Rivera


(as Erika Rivera)

Stephanie Bast


Eleanor Hutchins


Sebastian Sozzi


Tina Holmes


Karen Chilton


Secrets don't let go.


Official Website:
Official site |
Official site [United States] |

Release Date: 11 August 2006

Filming Locations: Brooklyn, New York City, New York, USA

Box Office Details

Budget: $700,000


Opening Weekend: $53,983
(13 August 2006)

Gross: $2,694,973
(10 December 2006)

Technical Specs


(Sundance Film Festival)

Did You Know?


Rachel McAdams came to visit the set during the filming of the bar scene. Running low on bar extras, to help the producers out Rachel hopped in to help make the bar look busy. Her scene never makes the final cut.


The only constant is change.

User Review


Rating: 10/10

Anyone who has experienced addiction in their lives, whether your own
or someone close to you, will find this film cutting. It is not about
the reasons leading to addiction or the recovery, rather it is about
the experience of the addiction in its raw reality. Even if you have
not experienced addiction in your life, the story is worthwhile and the
photography stellar. Ryan Gosling is the perfect portrait of a good
person who got lost. His portrayal of a crack head is almost too good.
The dialog is not pretentious or assuming and not overused. The story
unfolds itself in a very natural manner.

Highly recommended.