FOR ELLEN

BY CHRISTOPHER HASKELL
FEBRUARY 27, 2013

Paul Dano leads this emotionally taut drama. He plays Joby Taylor, an aspiring musician returning home to find his ex-wife looking to gain sole custody of his young daughter. “For Ellen” lives and breathes with Dano’s high-caliber performance, wonderfully portraying a flawed character for whom the viewer still feels sympathy. His daughter, played by Shaylena Mandigo, is a future star, with the poise and cold hard stares of an adult actress at the staggering age of six. Although most of the film is self-pity and denial on Joby’s part, the film picks up when he reveals a secret about his ex-wife that leads to visitation rights for a day between Joby and Ellen. Had the film had more interaction between the two, this could have been a much stronger film—instead, a few solid scenes and a long bit of emotional filler are what is left. I am uncertain why Jon Heder’s storyline was in the film, as it adds very little to the story. Seeing Paul Dano act is becoming a gift; any excuse to see him break out on the screen is a welcome distraction.

RELEASE DATE
September 5, 2012

DIRECTOR
So Yong Kim

WRITTEN BY
So Yong Kim

STUDIO
Tribeca Film

NOT RATED

DRAMA
94 minutes

CINEMATOGRAPHER
Reed Morano

COMPOSER
Jóhann Jóhannsson

EDITOR
Bradley Rust Gray
So Yong Kim

CAST
Paul Dano
Jon Heder
Shaylena Mandigo
Jena Malone
Margarita Levieva
Dakota Johnson

PRODUCED BY
So Yong Kim
Paul Dano
Jen Gatien
Bradley Rust Gray

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