Though he's only in his 20s, Paul Dano has already shown that he has acting talent to spare. In the indie For Ellen, he's exhibiting his skills once again, but with a new angle. As Joby Taylor, he plays the kind of character we haven't really seen him as yet: a young father. Joby is a musician who's spent so much time on the road that he's missed out on quality time with his 6-year-old daughter, Ellen. He's newly motivated to make contact with her when his estranged wife files for divorce — and full custody of Ellen. Unsure he wants to give up his rights, Joby travels to see Ellen and reconnect with the little girl.
For Ellen opened at Sundance, and it seems like the kind of sensitive indie you'd expect to see at the festival; even with just the few moments in the preview, it's affecting. I attribute it not just to Dano's acting, but also to the adorable young actress who plays Ellen, Shaylena Mandigo, and disarms Joby (and the audience) in the trailer. For Ellen opens on Sept. 5, but you can take a look at the film after the break.