For Ellen 2012

For Ellen

Critics Consensus

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67%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 36

37%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 2,436

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Movie Info

A struggling musician (Paul Dano) tries to pull himself together and fight for shared custody of his young daughter (Shaylena Mandigo).

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Critic Reviews for For Ellen

All Critics (36) | Top Critics (21) | Fresh (24) | Rotten (12)

  • 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.

    February 15, 2013 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • Paul Dano makes So Yong Kim's story of a deadbeat rocker with marriage problems his own.

    February 14, 2013 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • It's uncomfortably funny, achingly true - and the work of an absolutely genuine artist.

    February 14, 2013 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • Awkward, spartan storytelling from Korean director So Yong Kim that captures the tender heart of family bonds.

    February 11, 2013 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • "For Ellen" is a small but exquisite film, beautifully observed and impeccably executed.

    October 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.

    October 18, 2012 | Full Review…

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."

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