Nelson works largely because Gosling and Epps work flawlessly together.
Avoiding rote inspirational notes as well as boyz-in-the-hood violence, scrupulously low-key drama nonetheless builds to a powerful impact.
TV Guide Magazine by
Superb drama from New York-based filmmakers Ryan Flek and Anna Boden.
Entertainment Weekly by
Half Nelson offers an opportunity to marvel, once again, at the dazzling talent of Ryan Gosling for playing young men as believable as they are psychologically trip-wired.
The New York Times by
What makes Half Nelson both an unusual and an exceptional American film, particularly at a time when even films about Sept. 11 are professed to have no politics, is its insistence on political consciousness as a moral imperative.
The A.V. Club by
Gosling excels at playing contradictory characters like this one, having kick-started his career as a Jewish neo-Nazi in "The Believer," but here, his inner turmoil rarely gets vocalized. It's a remarkably subtle performance.