This extremely raw portrait of a woman trying to make it as an actress in Hollywood begins with a series of excruciating and stultifying audition scenes and ends up redeeming itself thanks to good writing and excellent acting. Writer/director/actor Scott Coffey shot the movie over four years, beginning in 2001, when star Naomi Watts was not yet a household name. They filmed between other projects, but Ellie Parker maintains its claustrophobic, hand-held, DV continuity. The story is simple: Ellie suffers through countless auditions, ripping her heart open and never getting called back. Her boyfriend's a jerk; her relationship with her best friend (Rebecca Rigg), also an actress, is complicated. (One of the best scenes in the movie: a crying competition.) When Ellie considers throwing in the towel, her agent (Chevy Chase) doesn't seem to care. Watts' performance is stunning, but the film is not easy to watch, both for its unpolished production values and its portrayal of bleeding emotional wounds.
Director: Scott Coffey
Writer: Scott Coffey
Producer: Naomi Watts
Cast: Naomi Watts, Rebecca Rigg, Scott Coffey, Mark Pellegrino, Blair Mastbaum, Chevy Chase, Jennifer Syme, Johanna Ray, David Baer and Keanu Reeves