For Ellen

For Ellen

Directed by: So Yong Kim
93 minutes

East Coast Premiere

Aspiring rock star Joby (Paul Dano; THE EXTRA MAN, IFFBoston 2010) has always been better at running away from his problems than facing them. But now a problem has yanked his life into limbo. His estranged wife is filing for divorce and demanding full custody of their young daughter, Ellen, whom Joby has never met.

Joby has focused his life around musical success, not relationships. But this crisis galvanizes him and sends his priorities spinning. With the dubious help of an incompetent but genial lawyer (Jon Heder, NAPOLEON DYNAMITE), Joby reaches out to the child for whom he’s always refused responsibility. His blundering attempts at fatherhood lead to a revelation about the level of commitment he’s prepared to make—to the people he cares about and to his own life.

Writer/director So Yong Kim (IN BETWEEN DAYS, IFFBoston 2006) explores the themes of rebellion, family, and the fallibility that underlies good intentions. Photographed and acted with delicate precision, FOR ELLEN is a quietly wrenching story of adulthood as a moving target.

—Anya Weber