Friday, October 23, 2009

Ryan Gosling in "Half Nelson" - This Flick's Smart and It's Got Heart

I used to think I would be an actor until I realized how unrealistic that was, which was when I decided I'd make my millions writing literary fiction. The point, though, is that I've acted in a few plays in my time, high school stuff and a bit in uni and then even a play in Japan.

Thus like a fellow whose played a few seasons of somewhat serious softball and so gets how hard it really might be to hit a major league fastball, my acting experience has allowed me to be a mad lover of a great performance on screen (or stage).

And some movies are all about the great performance. "Half Nelson" (2006) is one of those. The teen-aged girl (Shareeka Epps) in it is amazing. The film's lead, Ryan Gosling ("The Notebook," "The Believer"), makes me want to climb up on a stage again. He is sincerity on a big screen (or small). If authenticity is the heart of a certain kind of great acting, Gosling, who isn't yet 30, is all heart. Raw would probably be the best word to describe his performance.

That's all I really want to say about it.

Ok, I'll also say that Gosling plays a junior high school teacher, and you believe him as a teacher (having spent the better part of a decade in some form of a classroom as the one who gets to/has to hold the chalk, I feel like I've got some fair shakes at an assessment of that one), a teacher who has much passion and cares, he cares about his kids. Also, he's a crack addict. You believe that too. So it's not exactly a light movie. But it's a very very good movie.


  1. how can one ever keep up with you?

  2. it requires much popcorn chomping and household chore ignoring.

  3. you do household chore at all? what a revelation

  4. I have to totally agree with you. Have you seen The Class (French movie)?...check it out.

  5. I did see The Class. Amazing! Though, as a teacher, it stressed me right out. That Class was a nightmare!

  6. I was just googling Half Nelson and found your post -- I loved the movie, too, but especially Ryan Gosling. Certain Canadians in Hollywood -- Paul Haggis, for example -- are so overrated, over-rewarded and predictable. It was nice to find one who is actually talented, worthy and can surprise you with his choice of role.

  7. Thanks for commenting, Rondi. Yeah, Gosling make me proud to be Canadian. Some of the other big-name Canadian comedians have of late, as you said, made terribly predictable, boring, uninspired choices. What was Mike Myers thinking with Guru?


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