Dano does a more insolent version of his woe-is-me moroseness, but the drama is so minimalist that it's hard to glimpse the man behind the woe.
Owen Gleiberman - Entertainment Weekly
It teeters on the line that separates drama from anecdote.
A.O. Scott - New York Times
Paul Dano makes So Yong Kim's story of a deadbeat rocker with marriage problems his own.
Andrew Pulver - Guardian [UK]
"For Ellen" tries one's patience, but what works, works for keeps.
Ty Burr - Boston Globe
The film does find a patient balance between its obvious sincerity and the scenario's lack of depth and surprise.
Michael Atkinson - Village Voice
Dano's moments of strangled silence are awkwardly moving.
Joe Neumaier - New York Daily News
This performance, unlike anything Paul Dano has ever done, must have required some courage.
Roger Ebert - Chicago Sun-Times
his quiet indie drama distinguishes itself most when writer-director So Yong Kim gets the rocker alone with his daughter for a brief visit that will probably be their last.
J. R. Jones - Chicago Reader
So Yong Kim takes what could have been routine story elements and transforms them into something deeply sad and touching.
Robert Koehler - Variety
An empty angst-athon that proves 90 minutes of close-ups of Paul Dano looking wounded can be even less interesting than it sounds.
Kyle Smith - New York Post
Nobody else could fit the role of a crestfallen rocker that Paul Dano embodies in director So Yong Kim's remarkable For Ellen.
Eric Kohn - indieWIRE
The scant character development is not enhanced by the film's directorial style...
Justin Lowe - Hollywood Reporter
"For Ellen" is a small but exquisite film, beautifully observed and impeccably executed.
Kenneth Turan - Los Angeles Times
This low-key but shrewdly observed US indie movie from Korean-American writer-director So Yong Kim pointedly opens with a man at a crossroads, unsure of which direction to take. Decision made, he soon afterwards skids into a snowdrift.
Jason Best - Movie Talk
Mumblecore stuff with touching, truthful moments ...
Philip French - Observer [UK]
It's almost as though we're working toward an inverted, non-humorous riposte to John Goodman's line in The Big Lebowski: Say what you like about nihilism, at least it's an ethos.
Tara Brady - Irish Times
One of those mopey independent dramas that drifts through a mere hint of a plot, this film is worth a look for its unusual setting and a superb central performance from Paul Dano (last seen in Looper).
Rich Cline - Contactmusic.com
A tender and engaging drama with a handful of touching scenes and a stellar performance from Paul Dano ...
Jennifer Tate - ViewLondon
It's uncomfortably funny, achingly true - and the work of an absolutely genuine artist.
Trevor Johnston - Time Out
It's a challenging watch - Yong Kim allows plenty of time for the scenes to breathe - but it's genuinely touching, ending on a note that says all too much about the nature of the ultimate commitment-phobe.
Tim Evans - Sky Movies
Awkward, spartan storytelling from Korean director So Yong Kim that captures the tender heart of family bonds.
David Parkinson - Empire Magazine
Although little is explicitly stated, the characters' back-story is effectively communicated - yet it's difficult to truly care.
Emma Simmonds - The List
Writer-director So Yong Kim's mastery of tone and elements turns For Ellen into a thing of tender, forlorn beauty.
Brent Simon - Shockya.com
[A] glacially paced indie from Treeless Mountain director So Yong Kim, a Sundance special whose muted emotions take a while to access.
Neil Smith - Total Film
To make a short story long ...
Matt Pais - RedEye
Mandingo's so good, it's a shame that Dano is his typically mannered self.
Brett Michel - Boston Phoenix
Its anemic plot is almost nonexistent, and there's not enough substance to support Kim's languid style, resulting in a too-relaxed, 93-minute feature ...
Jeff Shannon - Seattle Times
It is the sensitively crafted, difficult struggle of father and daughter to connect, that forms the tender and awkward anchor of this tale. And that is the real romance here, a delicately nuanced unusual love story that is the heart of this movie.
Prairie Miller - Long Island Press
Paul Dano is a shining beacon in the bleak and disconnected indie drama.
Justin Craig - FoxNews.com
It's built around a strong turn by Dano, but one that feels studied and sometimes at odds with the naturalism the film aims for with its grubby settings, loose camerawork, and tendency toward inquisitive close-ups.
Alison Willmore - AV Club
By concentrating so intently on the psychically unattached Joby, Kim hinders dramatic and character development.
Mark Jenkins - NPR
Portrait of punk rock singer/songwriter experiencing a spiritual emergency as he copes with a deluge of trouble and disappointments.
Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat - Spirituality and Practice
Kim mostly avoids indie-cliche pitfalls for the first hour, and her use of wintry landscapes as counterpoint to Jody's crises of conscience is practically Bergman level.
Keith Uhlich - Time Out New York
So Yong Kim's direction remains ruminative, even poetic, in its pacing, its sense of place, and its approach to intimacy, but this is her most unsuitable script.
Chris Cabin - Slant Magazine
Slow, deliberate and too literal, this Sundance indie is mostly notable for offering the gifted Paul Dano a good part.
Emanuel Levy - EmanuelLevy.Com