Here's a good rule of thumb: When you have 30 minutes worth of material, don't try to stretch it out to an hour and a half. Please. This drama about a cool inner-city teacher with a rather uncool drug problem has its amazing moments. They're just way too few and far between.

It's too bad, because the film's provocative themes of race and recovery are worth examining, and newcomer Shareeka Epps astounds with her naturalistic performance.

Star Ryan Gosling also knocks this one out of the park, and the writing couldn't be better--there's just not a lot of it.

Perhaps the sparse dialogue, long sequences of mundane actions--like driving or, say, smoking (exciting!)--and the incredible lack of actual plot movement are attempts to establish a sense of minimalism, but it just means enjoyment is at a minimum as well.
--Dezhda Mountz

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