Ryan Gosling in "Half Nelson" - This Flick's Smart and It's Got Heart
I used to think I would be an actor until I realized how unrealistic that was, which was when I decided I'd make my millions writing literary fiction. The point, though, is that I've acted in a few plays in my time, high school stuff and a bit in uni and then even a play in Japan.
Thus like a fellow whose played a few seasons of somewhat serious softball and so gets how hard it really might be to hit a major league fastball, my acting experience has allowed me to be a mad lover of a great performance on screen (or stage).
And some movies are all about the great performance. "Half Nelson" (2006) is one of those. The teen-aged girl (Shareeka Epps) in it is amazing. The film's lead, Ryan Gosling ("The Notebook," "The Believer"), makes me want to climb up on a stage again. He is sincerity on a big screen (or small). If authenticity is the heart of a certain kind of great acting, Gosling, who isn't yet 30, is all heart. Raw would probably be the best word to describe his performance.
That's all I really want to say about it.
Ok, I'll also say that Gosling plays a junior high school teacher, and you believe him as a teacher (having spent the better part of a decade in some form of a classroom as the one who gets to/has to hold the chalk, I feel like I've got some fair shakes at an assessment of that one), a teacher who has much passion and cares, he cares about his kids. Also, he's a crack addict. You believe that too. So it's not exactly a light movie. But it's a very very good movie.