For Ellen

Film, Drama
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For Ellen

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.

By: Trevor Johnston


Release details

Release date: Friday February 15 2013
Duration: 94 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Yong Kim So
Screenwriter: Yong Kim So
Cast: Margarita Levieva
Jon Heder
Paul Dano
Jena Malone
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