For Ellen: Paul Dano Is Thoroughly Convincing

Paul Dano stars in For Ellen
Paul Dano stars in For Ellen

Location Info


Miami Beach Cinematheque

1130 Washington Ave.
Miami Beach, FL 33139

Category: Movie Theaters

Region: South Beach


87 minutes. Not rated. Miami Beach Cinematheque, 1130 Washington Ave., Miami Beach; 305-673-4567;

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Method-y, elfin brooder, hipster star of the moment Paul Dano has four movies out this year, but here is his one-man show, a post-Cassavetes gift to the lowly god of grit and "authenticity." Shot with personal-space-violating intimacy by sensitive semimumble vet So Yong Kim, the movie never strays more than a few inches from the odiferous aura around Dano's Joby, a dim goth alt-rocker in a nowhere band we first meet driving himself into an upstate snowbank. Joby struggles mostly alone with the disappointment he has provided his ex-wife and his deadbeat-dad legacy in regards to the titular grade-schooler (Shaylena Mandigo). A lean character study of a classic, if hardly articulate, modern lost-boy archetype, Kim's film sometimes runs the risk of taking Joby almost as seriously as he takes himself, staring this wastrel down as if his every pout and blink were a window on the human condition. But at the same time, the character's pitiful narcissism is certainly sliced for sandwiches, and the film does find a patient balance between its obvious sincerity and the scenario's lack of depth and surprise. Dano, with his remarkably guileless meta-teen puss, is thoroughly convincing, which is more than can be said for the film's shameless climactic steal from Five Easy Pieces.

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