Monday, October 02, 2006

A View At the Movies: Half Nelson

Half Nelson is a very intriguing film. It stars Ryan Gosling (The Notebook) as a crack addict who also happens to be a very good middle school History teacher. He gets in trouble for not following the curriculum, but his students are actually interested and appear to be learning. The class seems to be his reason for living. Gosling's character befriends a young girl (played by Shareeka Epps). Her mother works a lot, her father is unreliable, and her brother is in jail. She discovers his secret, but in spite of that, a friendship is forged. Gosling's character finds himself in a bit of a conundrum when a crack dealer that was a friend of her incarcerated brother enters the picture. Gosling's character tries to get her to steer clear of this guy. Anthony Mackie (Eight Mile, Manchurian Candidate, She Hate Me) delivers yet another solid performance as the dealer. The thing that I love most about this film was the fact that each character is humanized. Every character does some wrong things, but each character is sympathetic and likable in their own way. Half Nelson began as a short, but after gaining buzz at several film festivals, it was turned into a full-length feature. Half Nelson does have the grainy quality and lack of flashy effects that are common with a lot of indie films, but what it lacks in grandeur, it makes up for in heart and substance. Gosling and Mackie show once again that they are two of the best young actors in the business, and Shareeka Epps has the makings of a future superstar. Hopefully, this will be a breakthrough role that will lead to a stellar film career. I strongly recommend this film. In the Memphis area, it is playing exclusively at Malco's Studio on the Square. I give Half Nelson four out of five notebooks (stars). Be easy, readers.


Post a Comment

<< Home