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For Ellen

  • Film
  • 4 out of 5 stars
For Ellen

Time Out says

4 out of 5 stars

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.

Written by Trevor Johnston

Release Details

  • Release date:Friday 15 February 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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