Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck's Half Nelson is one that stays with the viewer long after their initial experience. The perfectly packaged film contains every element that comprises a solid work of art: a brilliant script that explores social change; inventive direction; sharp editing; a beautiful score (provided by Broken Social Scene); and - above all - honest, sincere acting.
Ryan Gosling plays Dan Dunne, a middle-school teacher in Brooklyn who forms a close relationship with one of his students, Drey (played by Shareeka Epps).
Despite having a respectful demeanor in the classroom, Dan possesses a secret addiction to cocaine. Dan's dependence is discovered by Drey when she finds him freebasing in a locker room at school.
When discovered, Dan's stunned shame is amplified by Drey's disappointment. Gosling and Dunne play off of each other with such strikingly honest intensity. The juxtaposition of their relationship is examined throughout the entire film, along with the exploration of sobering truths about society's complex class divide.
Some thoughts on art, life, and theatre. Stay positive.