Ellie Parker (2005) - Rotten Tomatoes

Ellie Parker (2005)



Critic Consensus: Despite some poignant commentary about struggling actors and Naomi Watts' inspired performance, Ellie Parker stutters in making the transition from short to feature length.

Movie Info

Naomi Watts produces and stars in Ellie Parker, a semi-autobiographical story of an Australian actress struggling to make it in Hollywood. Ellie is young enough to still schlep to auditions back and forth across L.A., changing wardrobes and slapping on makeup en route, but just old enough that the future feels "more like a threat than a promise." She lives with her vacant musician boyfriend (Mark Pellegrino), who leaves her just about as dissatisfied as any other part of her life, and has a loose definition of the word "fidelity." Helping make sense of their surreal and humiliating Hollywood existence is her best friend Sam (Rebecca Rigg), another out-of-work actress trying her hand at design, who attends acting classes with Ellie to stay sharp. When Ellie gets into a fender bender with a guy who claims he's a cinematographer (Scott Coffey), her perspective on her work and the dating world starts to change. Chevy Chase also makes an appearance in this series of Hollywood vignettes, playing Ellie's agent. Watts, Coffey, and Pellegrino all worked together on David Lynch's Mulholland Drive, where Watts had her breakout performance, and Ellie Parker grew out of the friendship forged between Watts and director/screenwriter Coffey. It was shot on digital video over the course of five years, having begun its life as a series of shorts featuring Watts' character. ~ Derek Armstrong, Rovimore
Rating: R
Genre: Art House & International, Comedy
Directed By:
Written By: Scott Coffey
In Theaters:
On DVD: Apr 11, 2006
Strand Releasing - Official Site

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Naomi Watts
as Ellie Parker
Jennifer Syme
as Casting Chick
Gregory Frietas
as Rick Saul
Johanna Ray
as Casting Director
Davie Baer
as Acting Teacher
Keanu Reeves
as Himself
Robbi Chong
as Acting Student
Todd Coffey
as Upstairs Neighbour
Kim Fay
as Therapist
David Baer
as Acting Teacher
Victoria Smirnova
as Russian Producer
Fanshen Cox
as Hostile Receptionist
Greg Freitas
as Rick Saul
Brian McCardie
as Acting Student
Cyrus Pahlavi
as Producer
Gaye Pope
as Leslie Towne
Bret Domrose
as Dogstar Band Member
Robert Mailhouse
as Dogstar Band Member
Marcel Sarmiento
as Acting Student
Jessicka Whitt Crane
as Acting Student
Debbie Leavit
as Vicodin Girl
Brian McArdie
as Acting Student
Gabriella Wall
as `Slut' Yelling Girl
Julie Fay
as Therapist's Companio...
Kate Garwood
as Actress Before Ellie
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Ellie Parker

Critic Reviews for Ellie Parker

All Critics (55) | Top Critics (21)

Like a sputtering career, Ellie Parker pretty much goes nowhere, and it's difficult to imagine that it would be of interest to many beyond the Hollywood community.

Full Review… | March 15, 2006
Denver Rocky Mountain News
Top Critic

The picture looks cheap and feels stretched.

Full Review… | January 5, 2006
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Top Critic

Eventually the energy of the original short runs out and the movie coasts on fumes, but it remains surprisingly enjoyable for all that.

Full Review… | December 17, 2005
Boston Globe
Top Critic

The premise -- someone trying to inject meaning into a necessarily vacuous existence -- is depressing, but there are moments of vaguely uncomfortable hilarity. The whole endeavor, however, winds up feeling flat and a bit dull.

Full Review… | December 15, 2005
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic

This is the movie they should show in college acting classes, instead of tapes of Inside the Actors' Studio.

Full Review… | December 15, 2005
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

[Watts'] performance carries this film.

Full Review… | November 29, 2005
Ebert & Roeper
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Ellie Parker


Really entertaining, experimental piece of work with a beyond good performance by Naomi Watts.

Michael S

Super Reviewer


Shot piecemeal over around five years, Ellie Parker is a pseudo-biographical account of one actress' attempts to 'make it' in the movie world.
Naomi Watts is our tragic heroine here, again turning in a superbly real performance, most tellingly in that before David Lynch had the insightfulness to grant her the lead in Mulholland Drive, most of Parker WAS her life. Unlike her 'pro-creativity' best friend, Parker is a method actress, requiring her to put herself through abject trauma in order to land herself a role. This aspect of the storytelling is the lynchpin for the movie's plot, highlighting not only the difficulty of balancing life and art, but also the poisonous nature of Hollywood, an industry that profits from people's pain.
In this regard, the film is also funnier than you'd expect, seeing Watts changing clothes and perfecting accents for trashy roles whilst driving to casting auditions!
Coupled with this are her unreliably moronic boyfriend and fling with a 'hot-shot' producer, which serve to make Parker's life worse, which of course conversely helps her acting!
Perhaps the best satire since The Player, and a decent comparion piece to the mighty Mulholland Drive.

Antony Stubbs

Super Reviewer


[font=Century Gothic]There are many actors who pass through Hollywood without becoming stars or making much of an impact. To think if it had not been for the unique trajectory of "Mullholland Drive," Naomi Watts might have been one of them, despite her great talent. In "Ellie Parker," Watts plays the title character, a struggling Australian actress, constantly driving from audition to audition in Hollywood, until she finds her musician boyfriend(Mark Pellegrino) in bed with another woman, followed by her being involved in a fender bender.[/font]
[font=Century Gothic][/font]
[font=Century Gothic]I have a great deal of empathy for struggling actors as events in "Ellie Parker" remind me of when I was unemployed and going to interviews non-stop. Ellie has an interesting pathology of not being comfortable in her own skin which might explain her wanting to be an actress and occasionally dressing up for auditions but there is not much depth or story in the film. It is odd that Ellie has no visible means of support(she does not have a day job like her friend, Sam(Rebecca Rigg)). And a star vehicle such as this can only make a modest production which was shot on digital video rather unwieldy.[/font]

Walter M.

Super Reviewer

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