For Ellen


For Ellen

Critics Consensus

No consensus yet.



Total Count: 36


Audience Score

User Ratings: 2,436
User image

For Ellen Photos

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 make headway in reversing the decision, and a girlfriend (Jena Malone) that represents an era of his life that he might be ready to graduate from, Joby negotiates a visit with his daughter to explore whether he is able to walk away from his child, and whether it might be too late for reconciliation. -- (C) Tribeca

Watch it now


Paul Dano
as Joby Taylor
Jon Heder
as Fred Butler
Margarita Levieva
as Claire Taylor
Shaylena Mandigo
as Ellen Taylor
Julian Gamble
as Mr. Hamilton
Mara Pelifan
as Mrs. Butler
Ronald Walter Mandigo
as Claire Taylor's Fiancé
William Roberts
as Tow-Truck Guy
Peter Roberts
as Tow-Truck Guy
Michael Almond
as Bar Extra
Bonnie Lucia
as Bar Extra
Shannon Jordan
as Bar Extra
Paul Dano, Sr.
as Bowling Alley Extra
Lauren Cribb Gropp
as Bowling Alley Extra
Alycia Kassian
as Bowling Alley Extra
Andrew Kassian
as Bowling Alley Extra
Doug Kassian
as Bowling Alley Extra
Lucy Kassian
as Bowling Alley Extra
Alexandra Nicole Lett
as Bowling Alley Extra
Crystal Nicole Nevin
as Bowling Alley Extra
P.J. Pollack
as Bowling Alley Extra
View All

News & Interviews for For Ellen

Critic Reviews for For Ellen

All Critics (36) | Top Critics (18) | Fresh (24) | Rotten (12)

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

    Feb 14, 2013 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

    Andrew Pulver

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

    Feb 14, 2013 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • "For Ellen" is a small but exquisite film, beautifully observed and impeccably executed.

    Oct 18, 2012 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • 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.

    Oct 18, 2012 | Full Review…
  • This performance, unlike anything Paul Dano has ever done, must have required some courage.

    Oct 18, 2012 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…
  • "For Ellen" tries one's patience, but what works, works for keeps.

    Sep 20, 2012 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…

    Ty Burr

    Boston Globe
    Top Critic

Audience Reviews for For Ellen

  • Oct 03, 2015
    Touching yet sad story of a dad trying to do right by his daughter. The film draws alot from Just pure emotion. You have to pay attention as there is not much dialogue.
    Jarrin R Super Reviewer
  • Jul 18, 2014
    "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
  • Jan 11, 2014
    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
  • Dec 26, 2012
    "<b>For Ellen</b> 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."

For Ellen Quotes

News & Features