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Aspiring rock star Joby Taylor (Paul Dano - "There Will be Blood," "Little Miss Sunshine") has wanted nothing more than to 'make it,' having flirted with fame but never crossed over into true success. In the midst of a low period in his life, he agrees to sign divorce papers with his estranged wife (Margarita Levieva - "Revenge," "How To Make It In America") in order to see money from the sale of their home, only to discover that by signing the papers, he will forfeit all custody of his six-year-old daughter, Ellen (newcomer Shaylena Mandigo). With a good-natured lawyer (Jon Heder - "Napoleon Dynamite") unable to make headway in reversing the decision, and a girlfriend (Jena Malone - "Into the Wild") that represents an era of his life that he might be ready to graduate from, Joby negotiates a visit with his daughter to explore whether he is able to walk away from his child, and whether it might be too late for reconciliation.
"For Ellen" stems from Kim’s desire to understand her own father, and an imagined confrontation if he ever returned to her. Using the stark beauty and vast farmlands of an American winter as its backdrop, the film charts Joby’s emotional journey as he realizes what he has lost – and what, if anything, can still be saved.