For Ellen (So Yong Kim) – Movie Review


A struggling musician takes an overnight long-distance drive in order to fight his estranged wife for custody of their young daughter. (IMDB)

First of all I have to say that I’m a HUGE fan of Paul Dano. I mean that from the moment I saw him in Little Miss Sunshine, I had a huge crush on him. I’m the kind of girl that always goes for the underdog. And he just impersonates that. So each time there’s a film coming out with him, I jump on it and I have to see it, immediately. So when I saw that this movie was playing at the International Ghent Film Festival, well I just had to see it. And wel.

The director used to many full, long and extreme long shots to show the evolution between the days, which didn’t help the story. It always put me out of the story. The images were great but it didn’t help the story or the involvement in the story at all. It pulled us out of the story to throw us back into it.

She also played with the focus. In this movie we would have a blurry background with two characters in it. One would be in focus and the other not. And then she would shift on the strangest times. Not according to the scenario or the character that was talking.

Paul Dano is Joby Taylor in this movie and he is just perfect for this role. I have never seen him in such a raw movie. He caries this movie all by himself. His character is an asshole in the first part of the movie. He doesn’t care for anyone but himself. And we only get a glimpse of his real self when he is alone in his hotel room. From the moment he meets his little daughter, things change. He becomes more sensitive and she starts growing on him.

The lawyer is a typical mollycoddle. His main goal in this movie is to be accepted by Joby and to find a way out of his mother’s cocoon. The only positive thing about this character: the funniest moments in this movie were their scenes.

Shaylena Mandigo plays the little girl and is the most adorable thing I have ever seen. She had enormous blue eyes that make you love this girl from the moment you saw her. She fills Paul Dano’s acting so well that it just makes you shiver with pleasure. Her character also seems just like Joby Taylor. They both don’t know what they like and what they want in life. After this movie I think Joby Taylor has more knowledge about himself now, that will probably help him forward in his life.

The movie is well cast, no doubt about it. But the story is very slow on some moments and qua imagery there’s also a lot that disturbed me.

1,5 stars, sorry Paul Dano