For Ellen

Rated NR 93 minutes 2012

Paul Dano brings his big-eyed woe to the anomalous role of an angry, leather-clad rocker, who arrives in a small town to finalize his divorce settlement and comes face to face with the six-year-old daughter he's blown off for most of her life. In another creative stretch, a bearded and nearly unrecognizable Jon Heder (Napoleon Dynamite) plays the musician's meek, star-struck lawyer, still living with his mother. Both actors acquit themselves admirably, but this quiet indie drama distinguishes itself most when writer-director So Yong Kim—whose wonderful Treeless Mountain was a tale of two latchkey kids in Seoul—gets the rocker alone with his daughter for a brief visit that will probably be their last. Their scenes together in a toy store, the father struggling to keep his steps small, and in the noisy, echoing food court of the mall are delicate and painful, not least because he seems as shy and bereft as his daughter.

Film Credits

Director: So Yong Kim

Producer: So Yong Kim, Bradley Rust Gray, Jen Gatien, Paul Dano, Jonathan Vinnik, Michael Clofine, Tricia Quick and Rui Reis

Cast: Paul Dano, Jon Heder, Jena Malone, Margarita Leveiva, Shaylena Mandigo, Dakota Johnson and Alex Mauriello

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