User Score
7.5

Generally favorable reviews- based on 172 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 21 out of 172

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  1. Jan 12, 2012
    4
    Another cliché-ridden generic drug-related high school movie. The only positive is Gosling's acting, if only the script was worthy of his casting....
  2. Mar 31, 2013
    2
    A bland soup of smug. As edgy as a satsuma and embarrassingly reverent. Half Nelson flogs a dead horse into a cliche paste. Ryan Gosling smoulders vacantly, as he is wont to do.
Metascore
85

Universal acclaim - based on 31 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 30 out of 31
  2. Negative: 0 out of 31
  1. Reviewed by: Don R. Lewis
    80
    Fleck manages to mix the storylines which include drug abuse, political commentary and making good choices about your life's path flawlessly.
  2. Reviewed by: David Edelstein
    80
    Downbeat as it is, Half Nelson is a genuinely inspirational film--a terrifically compelling character study and a tricky exploration of the links (and busted links) between the personal and the political.
  3. Reviewed by: James Greenberg
    80
    If there was ever any doubt, with Half Nelson, Ryan Gosling establishes himself as a major talent and one of the finest young actors around.