Half Nelson

2006 R 1h 46m DVD

Half Nelson

2006 R 1h 46m DVD
  • Overview
  • Details
An improbable friendship between drug-addicted educator Dan Dunne and streetwise kid Drey may lead them to deliverance -- or destruction. After Drey finds Dunne feeding his habit in a locker room, she becomes a conduit for a life-changing lesson.
Ryan Gosling, Shareeka Epps, Anthony Mackie, Deborah Rush, Jay O. Sanders, Nicole Vicius, Denis O'Hare, Tina Holmes
Ryan Fleck
Widescreen Anamorphic 1.78:1
English, Spanish (Neutral)
English: Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo, English: Dolby Digital 5.1
R - Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian. Contains some adult material. Parents are urged to learn more about the film before taking their young children with them.
age 16+
Common Sense rating OK for kids 16+
age 16+

Common Sense Note

Parents need to know that this is no "hero white teacher saves the poor minority students" uplifter. Instead it's far more complex and challenging, because the white hero teacher, for all his good intentions, is also a drug user, a slave to narcotics on the streets, and conflicted about his job. There is much raw language; some sex, including a scene that mixes sex with violence; and the depiction of a strung-out addict. And the "straight" teachers in the school are jaded and calloused. The kids, especially the girl who learns Mr. Dunne's secret, seem less at-risk than he does. In class, Dunne's (unauthorized) history lessons come from a sharply left-wing stance, with reports on U.S. violations of law and human rights, at home and abroad.

Sexual Content

A montage-y tangle of limbs in a lyrical sex scene between Daniel and another teacher he takes as a lover. Later in a drug-fueled state he nearly rapes her. Scantily dressed females in drug dens and music-club environments.


The main character is struck in the face while nearly committing rape.


Much swearing, in arguments, street talk, and during heated school basketball games (Coach Dunne gets penalized for calling someone an asshole).

Social Behavior

Obviously this is a story about good role models who have bad sides, exemplified by Danny, the young teacher who really cares, but is also really messed up on drugs a lot of the time. His fellow administrators seem jaded and apathetic, though they're "straight." The student girl Drey is no angel, but she's smart enough to shy away from violence and destructive lifestyles. A drug dealer flaunts his easy-money earnings.


Some popular songs on the soundtrack.

Drugs / Tobacco / Alcohol

The main character is a drug-addict teacher who claims he can keep it under control, and we get glimpses of langorous crack-smoking parties and drinking in bars.

  • Age appropriate
  • Not an issue
  • Depends on your child and your family
  • Parents strongly cautioned
  • Not appropriate for kids of the age

This information for parents is provided by Common Sense Media, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving kids' media lives.

How it works

  • 1

    Create your list

    Browse from thousands of movies and shows.

  • 2

    Free delivery

    We send out your disc the next business day.

  • 3

    Watch and repeat

    Free returns, plus no due dates or late fees.

Unlimited movies sent to your door, starting at $9.99 a month.