Being a Nazi's just not cool anymore, baby

During Spring Break, I got around to watching Half Nelson, which I knew little about, other than Ryan Gosling was Oscar-nominated for it. He's a schoolteacher in Brooklyn, who happens to be on the rocks, literally and metaphorically. Luckily, the film is not another unnecessary inspirational teaching film with an "isn't it great that we're all better people" ending. My girlfriend teaches, and it can be pretty crap and demoralising. Gosling plays the teacher as flawed as anyone else, not a knight in shining armour here to rescue poor kids from their tough environment. I liked that it wasn't another of those films where, by the end, all the kids love the teacher. Even the one girl he connected with (played brilliantly by Shareeka Epps) is skeptical about him, though they form an unusual friendship. The film is bleak throughout - his home and family life are so unstable that teaching is really the only thing he puts any effort into. There are clips of students talking about civil rights struggles which kind of work well, but the lack of any resolution at the end underwhelms a little. Of course I didn't want a happily ever after, but I did shrug at the end. It's definitely worth a rental, though, for the acting, and the kicking soundtrack from Broken Social Scene, including this (sort of) rarity.

[download Broken Social Scene - Lover's Spit (Feist version)]


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