By day Ryan Gosling’s history teacher in this film from Ryan Fleck regales his inner-city middle-school students with his hip, dialectical approach to history (civil-rights movement vs. racist establishment = black Republicans?); by night he’s hanging out with whores and smoking crack. So when does he grade papers? Sometimes he doesn’t even make it off the school grounds before he starts pulling on his pipe, and that’s when his 13-year-old student Drey (Shakeera Epps, the acting discovery of last April’s Independent Film Festival of Boston) finds him sprawled out in a stall in the ladies’ room. What follows is a sometimes subtle, sometimes bombastic (Gosling’s performance ranges from brilliant to bug-eyed) parable about class, race, power, and the dialectics of family relationships.
On the Web
Half Nelson's official Web site:http://www.halfnelsonthefilm.com/