From the director of “Treeless Mountain” and “In Between Days,” comes “For Ellen,” a bleak and moody-looking picture about a fuck-up rocker also trying to negotiate being a father. However, is it far too late? Directed by So Yong Kim and starring Paul Dano, Shaylena Mandigo with appearances by Jon Heder, Jena Malone, Dakota Johnson, and Margarita Levieva, “For Ellen” doesn’t exactly look like a great time at the movies, but it does seem to feature a commanding performance by Dano. And perhaps one we’ve never seen from this young actor.
Debuting at Sundance earlier this year, “For Ellen” was met with mixed reviews. Our own review described it as grueling at times, but almost all critics seem to agree that while stark and perhaps a tad depressing, Paul Dano shines in the picture and that alone makes this one to keep an eye on. Here’s the official synopsis:
Aspiring rock star Joby Taylor (Paul Dano- THERE WILL BE BLOOD, LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE) 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- “Revenge,” “How To Make It In America”) 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 (newcomer Shaylena Mandigo). With a good-natured lawyer (Jon Heder- NAPOLEON DYNAMITE) unable to make headway in reversing the decision, and a girlfriend (Jena Malone- INTO THE WILD) 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.
“For Ellen” hit theaters theatrically on September 5th in New York and then it’s on VOD September 19th. Seattle and Denver audiences will be able to see it theatrically on September 21st and 28th, respectively. Trailer below.