Rian Miller’s review:
I enjoy Ryan Gosling as much as the next movie-goer, but I'd have probably passed on watching this film if it weren't for all of the rave reviews that it seems to have acquired across the blog-o-sphere as being some sort of underdog masterpiece. Gosling certainly handles the role of a drug addicted teacher well enough, but I couldn't help but get the feeling that the events of the film were a little hokey. I have no problem believing that there are teachers out there in underprivileged parts of the country who grow a bond between themselves and one of their students, but the sentiments in Half Nelson's depiction of one such instance felt forced to me. This is absolutely a well-crafted and acted film, but it's perhaps a bit too self-important for my taste.