Half Nelson

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Realism, as the name implies, is a concept that deals with reality, or the actuality of something. In film, the realism as a style does not imply that what is going on in the film is true to real life, but more that the techniques used while filming made it seem real. Documentary films are the closest to a truly realistic depiction of life, with actual people and events, however these are not the only films that deal with realism. In Ryan Fleck’s film, Half Nelson (Ryan Fleck, USA, 2006), a realist style is used as a means of portraying the struggles of drug abuse, the demise of idealism as a lifestyle, and the perception of hopelessness for life in general. All three of which are themes evident throughout the movie and can be represented…show more content…
Dunne is an idealist in Half Nelson, but a profoundly contradictory one. For example, when Dunne meets a woman at a bar and goes to a motel with her for the evening. He has a very expressive conversation with this woman whom he barely knows, telling her how he used to be worse than he is now, that rehab did not work, and that now he has cleaned himself up and appears to have everything figured out. The subjectivity of Dunne is shown here, as he feels his life is now adequate and he has a grasp on reality. The true reality is shown through the films style, by using an actual motel room with no added lighting, giving the scene a “…simple ‘styleless’ style.” (Giannetti and Leach, 2005:367). If Dunne has everything figured out, why is he spending the night with a stranger, telling her his biased thoughts on life in some random motel room? He tells her how his students are what help him get by in life, but the fact is the drugs are what really help him get through each day, he just does not realize it. Throughout the film Dunne teaches about dialectics to his students, about the tension that exists between two opposing forces. As he has become friends with Drey, the theory of dialectics is brought from the classroom to their lives. Drey is friends with a man named Frank, played by Anthony Mackie, who happens to be a drug dealer. Dunne knows that Drey should stay away from Frank, but Dunne himself is a

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