For Ellen
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Aspiring rock star Joby Taylor (Paul Dano) has wanted nothing more than to "make it", having flirted with fame but never crossed over into true success. In the midst of a low period in his life, he agrees to sign divorce papers with his estranged wife (Margarita Levieva) in order to see money from the sale of their home, only to discover that by signing the papers, he will forfeit all custody of his six-year-old daughter, Ellen (Shaylena Mandigo). With a good-natured lawyer (Jon Heder) unable to make headway in reversing the decision, and a girlfriend (Jena Malone) that represents an… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 66%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"It's uncomfortably funny, achingly true - and the work of an absolutely genuine artist."
‑ Trevor Johnston, Time Out
"This performance, unlike anything Paul Dano has ever done, must have required some courage."
‑ Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
"This low-key but shrewdly observed US indie movie from Korean-American writer-director So Yong Kim pointedly opens with a man at a crossroads, unsure of which direction to take. Decision made, he soon afterwards skids into a snowdrift."
‑ Jason Best, Movie Talk
"One of those mopey independent dramas that drifts through a mere hint of a plot, this film is worth a look for its unusual setting and a superb central performance from Paul Dano (last seen in Looper)."
‑ Rich Cline,
"A tender and engaging drama with a handful of touching scenes and a stellar performance from Paul Dano ..."
‑ Jennifer Tate, ViewLondon
""For Ellen" is a small but exquisite film, beautifully observed and impeccably executed."
‑ Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times
""For Ellen" tries one's patience, but what works, works for keeps."
‑ Ty Burr, Boston Globe
"Mumblecore stuff with touching, truthful moments ..."
‑ Philip French, Observer [UK]
"Paul Dano makes So Yong Kim's story of a deadbeat rocker with marriage problems his own."
‑ Andrew Pulver, Guardian
"Awkward, spartan storytelling from Korean director So Yong Kim that captures the tender heart of family bonds."
‑ David Parkinson, Empire Magazine
"his quiet indie drama distinguishes itself most when writer-director So Yong Kim gets the rocker alone with his daughter for a brief visit that will probably be their last."
‑ J. R. Jones, Chicago Reader
"Its anemic plot is almost nonexistent, and there's not enough substance to support Kim's languid style, resulting in a too-relaxed, 93-minute feature ..."
‑ Jeff Shannon, Seattle Times
"It's almost as though we're working toward an inverted, non-humorous riposte to John Goodman's line in The Big Lebowski: Say what you like about nihilism, at least it's an ethos."
‑ Tara Brady, Irish Times
"It's a challenging watch - Yong Kim allows plenty of time for the scenes to breathe - but it's genuinely touching, ending on a note that says all too much about the nature of the ultimate commitment-phobe."
‑ Tim Evans, Sky Movies
"Although little is explicitly stated, the characters' back-story is effectively communicated - yet it's difficult to truly care."
‑ Emma Simmonds, The List
More reviews for For Ellen on Rotten Tomatoes