For Ellen

Film

Drama

For Ellen

Time Out rating:

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Time Out says

Tue Feb 12 2013

Three features in, and Korean-born, LA-raised writer-director So Yong Kim is moving from promising talent to fully fledged indie auteur. Her previous Korean-language childhood saga ‘Treeless Mountain’ was quite something but, working in the US for the first time, this keenly perceptive, slow-burning drama proves even more accessible without compromising her integrity. Paul Dano (pictured) puts in a career-best shift as Joby, a third-rate rocker hoping a last-ditch winter visit to his estranged wife and child will somehow help him get his chaotic life together. First, though, he has to persuade her not to divorce him. That’s where Jon ‘Napoleon Dynamite’ Heder’s kindly but befuddled man-child lawyer comes in. Still, Joby’s day out with his young daughter Ellen (mercifully unprecocious Shaylena Mandigo) could yet be his last. In other hands, this could play as glib comedy or slick sentiment, yet Kim’s patient, clear-sighted film moves to the urgings of tough emotional realities rather than obvious story patterns. It’s uncomfortably funny, achingly true – and the work of an absolutely genuine artist.

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Release details

UK release:

Fri Feb 15, 2013

Duration:

94 mins

Cast and crew

Cast:

Margarita Levieva, Jon Heder, Paul Dano, Jena Malone

Director:

Yong Kim So

Screenwriter:

Yong Kim So

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