Half Nelson ★★★ 2006 (R)
Get high, Mr. Chips. Crackhead Brooklyn schoolteacher Dan Dunne (Gosling) manages to do the inspiring innercity educator thing until 12-year-old Drey (Epps in a stellar debut performance), no stranger to addicts, discovers him passed out in a bathroom stall after a basketball game, pipe in hand. This leads to a tentative, complicated relationship between the two, with Dan's ironic efforts to save Drey from a drug dealer's plans to bring her into his fold somehow offering the pair the possibility of salvation. Gosling is raw and sympathetic portraying Dan's contradictions, and the film smartly avoids the usual feel-good trappings. 106m/C DVD . US Ryan Gosling, Anthony Mackie, Tina Holmes, Deborah Rush, Shareeka Epps, Monique Gabriela Curnen, Jay O. Sanders, Karen Chilton; D: Ryan Fleck; W: Ryan Fleck, Anna Boden; C: Andrij Parekh. Ind. Spirit ‘07: Actor (Gosling), Actress (Epps).