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Naomi Watts produces and stars in Ellie Parker, a semi-autobiographical story of an Australian actress struggling to make it in Hollywood. Ellie is young enough to still schlep to auditions back and forth across L.A., changing wardrobes and slapping on makeup en route, but just old enough that the future feels "more like a threat than a promise." She lives with her vacant musician boyfriend (Mark Pellegrino), who leaves her just about as dissatisfied as any other part of her life, and has a loose definition of the word "fidelity." Helping make sense of their surreal and humiliating Hollywood existence is her best friend Sam (Rebecca Rigg), another out-of-work actress trying her hand at design, who attends acting classes with Ellie to stay sharp. When Ellie gets into a fender bender with a guy who claims he's a cinematographer (Scott Coffey), her perspective on her work and the dating world starts to change. Chevy Chase also makes an appearance in this series of Hollywood vignettes, playing Ellie's agent. Watts, Coffey, and Pellegrino all worked together on David Lynch's Mulholland Drive, where Watts had her breakout performance, and Ellie Parker grew out of the friendship forged between Watts and director/screenwriter Coffey. It was shot on digital video over the course of five years, having begun its life as a series of shorts featuring Watts' character. ~ Derek Armstrong, Rovi
Shot piecemeal over around five years, Ellie Parker is a pseudo-biographical account of one actress' attempts to 'make it' in the movie world.
Naomi Watts is our tragic heroine here, again turning in a superbly real performance, most tellingly in that before David Lynch had the insightfulness to grant her the lead in Mulholland Drive, most of Parker WAS her life. Unlike her 'pro-creativity' best friend, Parker is a method actress, requiring her to put herself through abject trauma in order to land herself a role. This aspect of the storytelling is the lynchpin for the movie's plot, highlighting not only the difficulty of balancing life and art, but also the poisonous nature of Hollywood, an industry that profits from people's pain.
In this regard, the film is also funnier than you'd expect, seeing Watts changing clothes and perfecting accents for trashy roles whilst driving to casting auditions!
Coupled with this are her unreliably moronic boyfriend and fling with a 'hot-shot' producer, which serve to make Parker's life worse, which of course conversely helps her acting!
Perhaps the best satire since The Player, and a decent comparion piece to the mighty Mulholland Drive.
[font=Century Gothic]There are many actors who pass through Hollywood without becoming stars or making much of an impact. To think if it had not been for the unique trajectory of "Mullholland Drive," Naomi Watts might have been one of them, despite her great talent. In "Ellie Parker," Watts plays the title character, a struggling Australian actress, constantly driving from audition to audition in Hollywood, until she finds her musician boyfriend(Mark Pellegrino) in bed with another woman, followed by her being involved in a fender bender.[/font] [font=Century Gothic][/font] [font=Century Gothic]I have a great deal of empathy for struggling actors as events in "Ellie Parker" remind me of when I was unemployed and going to interviews non-stop. Ellie has an interesting pathology of not being comfortable in her own skin which might explain her wanting to be an actress and occasionally dressing up for auditions but there is not much depth or story in the film. It is odd that Ellie has no visible means of support(she does not have a day job like her friend, Sam(Rebecca Rigg)). And a star vehicle such as this can only make a modest production which was shot on digital video rather unwieldy.[/font]
An extremely uncomfortable movie-going experience. I would never watch it again. But Naomi Watts kept my interest in a truly brave performance. Apparently this was supposed to be funny? I think I smiled twice. It's not that dramatic or eventful either. The best way to describe this is "uncomfortable."
As a fan of Naomi Watts I had to see this so called comedy about life in Hollywood. Watts is amazing as usual and manages to keep the movie interesting. I wouldn't call it a comedy though - there is a few fun moments but I think it's more of a half-serious documentary that portrays how acting can be in Hollywood. Due to the limited, though fitting and effective, cinematography and the simplicity of the story the grade can only be average.
I really liked Naomi Watts in this film, but I'm convinced that she and Nicole Kidman are THE SAME PERSON. The audition scenes were really uncomfortable to watch, only because they were so true. The story dragged on a bit at some points, and I think the film would have been better if it were shorter. And the filming style was heinously bad in some scenes. Even indie film-makers should obey some basic framing laws, otherwise it just looks very high school. Anyway, the performances are the main thing and Naomi was great. I felt really sad for her at the end.
Didn't know what to think at first, this movie was shot in a chaotic fashion, following Ellie through every nook of her downward-spiraling life. But Naomi Watts is adorable, and after watching her in The Ring, King Kong, and The Painted Veil, it's downright fascinating. At times it's like watching a car-wreck :)