81% Fury Oct 17
79% The Book of Life Oct 17
8% The Best Of Me Oct 17
92% Birdman Oct 17
97% Dear White People Oct 17

Top Box Office

88% Gone Girl $26.4M
23% Dracula Untold $23.5M
64% Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day $18.4M
31% Annabelle $15.9M
48% The Judge $13.1M
62% The Equalizer $9.7M
8% Addicted $7.5M
63% The Maze Runner $7.5M
74% The Boxtrolls $6.6M
2% Left Behind $2.8M

Coming Soon

100% John Wick Oct 24
No Score Yet Ouija Oct 24
No Score Yet 23 Blast Oct 24
62% Laggies Oct 24
58% White Bird in a Blizzard Oct 24

For Ellen (2012)


Average Rating: 6.2/10
Reviews Counted: 35
Fresh: 23
Rotten: 12

Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.

Average Rating: 6.1/10
Reviews Counted: 16
Fresh: 9
Rotten: 7

Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.


Average Rating: 3.1/5
User Ratings: 2,366



Movie Info

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 … More

Directed By:
Written By:
So Yong Kim
In Theaters:
Feb 18, 2013
Tribeca Film - Official Site


Related News & Features

Friend Ratings

No Friends? Inconceivable! Log in to see what your friends have to say.

Critic Reviews for For Ellen

All Critics (35) | Top Critics (16) | Fresh (23) | Rotten (12)

It's uncomfortably funny, achingly true - and the work of an absolutely genuine artist.

Full Review… | February 14, 2013
Time Out
Top Critic

"For Ellen" is a small but exquisite film, beautifully observed and impeccably executed.

Full Review… | October 18, 2012
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic

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.

Full Review… | October 18, 2012
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

This performance, unlike anything Paul Dano has ever done, must have required some courage.

Full Review… | October 18, 2012
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

"For Ellen" tries one's patience, but what works, works for keeps.

Full Review… | September 20, 2012
Boston Globe
Top Critic

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 ...

Full Review… | September 13, 2012
Seattle Times
Top Critic

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.

Full Review… | February 23, 2013
Movie Talk

Mumblecore stuff with touching, truthful moments ...

Full Review… | February 17, 2013
Observer [UK]

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.

Full Review… | February 15, 2013
Irish Times

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).

Full Review… | February 15, 2013

Paul Dano makes So Yong Kim's story of a deadbeat rocker with marriage problems his own.

Full Review… | February 14, 2013

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.

Full Review… | February 14, 2013
Sky Movies

A tender and engaging drama with a handful of touching scenes and a stellar performance from Paul Dano ...

Full Review… | February 14, 2013

Awkward, spartan storytelling from Korean director So Yong Kim that captures the tender heart of family bonds.

Full Review… | February 11, 2013
Empire Magazine

Although little is explicitly stated, the characters' back-story is effectively communicated - yet it's difficult to truly care.

Full Review… | February 11, 2013
The List

Writer-director So Yong Kim's mastery of tone and elements turns For Ellen into a thing of tender, forlorn beauty.

Full Review… | February 7, 2013

[A] glacially paced indie from Treeless Mountain director So Yong Kim, a Sundance special whose muted emotions take a while to access.

Full Review… | January 25, 2013
Total Film

To make a short story long ...

Full Review… | October 18, 2012

Mandingo's so good, it's a shame that Dano is his typically mannered self.

Full Review… | September 19, 2012
Boston Phoenix

It is the sensitively crafted, difficult struggle of father and daughter to connect, that forms the tender and awkward anchor of this tale. And that is the real romance here, a delicately nuanced unusual love story that is the heart of this movie.

Full Review… | September 9, 2012
Long Island Press

Audience Reviews for For Ellen


"For Ellen is a sad movie. Joby Taylor has always wanted fame, but has little of it. He left behind a wife and child trying to achieve it. When his estranged wife wants a divorce, Joby agrees to sign the papers thinking he will get half of the money from the sale of their home and shared custody of their daughter, Ellen. Joby is unaware of the final print in his divorce which states that since he will receive half of the homes sale money he will therefore sign over all rights over to his wife. Although I am no fan of absent father's, I did feel a little bad for Joby and sad for his daughter, Ellen. Joby's lawyer, Fred, tries to find a way for Joby to have shared custody, but is unable to. Joby talks his way into spending time with Ellen for the first and last time. Very bittersweet.
Paul Danno is amazing as always. He really does give one of his better performances. The weight of the film is all on his performance for he is alone most of the time. All of the other actors play minor roles. It's not a film I would probably see again though. It's depressing."


Super Reviewer

'For Ellen'. Paul Dano and his emotive face are utterly captivating in this bittersweet indie fare.


Super Reviewer


"For Ellen" starts with Joby(Paul Dano), a musician, driving into a snow bank when he eats and drives one morning. He is in the middle of nowhere to finalize the divorce with his estranged wife Claire(Margarita Levieva) but then balks at the fine print. At least, in the meantime, he gets an invitation for home cooked lasagna.

Ever since the invention of drama, it has been debated whether or not there could be an excellent performance in a lackluster play or movie. Well, I would like to submit the dramatically uneven "For Ellen" as exhibit A. Again, Paul Dano proves he is one of the best actors of his generation, fully embodying his character. But sadly, Joby is the only show here, as the camera cannot leave him alone for a minute, unlike other characters, thus not allowing for any meaningful perspective on the situation. For example, I would have especially liked to have seen events also from Claire's point of view. That's not to mention a perplexing ending which only serves to muddle the movie's message.

Walter M.

Super Reviewer

This film strikes out. I felt like I had seen this type of film before and done better (example: Somewhere). The majority of the cast in my opinion are miscast. The only one that shines is Shaylena Mandigo playing little Ellen. She steals the film. The cinematography and editing are terrible here. The pacing is off. Some scenes are too slow.

Sol C

Super Reviewer

For Ellen Quotes

John Taylor:
We wanted to make it so bad.
Ellen Taylor:
Have you made it?
– Submitted by Chris P (2 years ago)
John Taylor:
You don't talk to me that way!
John Taylor:
– Submitted by Chris P (2 years ago)

Discussion Forum

Discuss For Ellen on our Movie forum!