In Theaters

Gimme Shelter - Movie Review

  • Movie Review

  • Film Details

  • Blu-ray Review

  • Trailer

Gimme Shelter - Movie Review

{googleads}

2 stars

Former Disney Channel go-to-girl Vanessa Hudgens musses her hair and tattoos her hide for a grungy turn in Gimme Shelter, a film that disguises its right-wing, Christian fairy tale intentions beneath what it thinks is a tough, gritty facade of societal misgivings.  It’s the “true” story of a young, homeless teenager named Apple (Hudgens) and her near-impossible path to motherhood as the child of an abusive, drug-addicted mother (Rosario Dawson).

For Hudgens, the film represents one more step towards shedding her single-noted High School Musical legacy. Any squeaky-clean remnants of her Gabriella Montez that weren’t wiped out by 2011’s enigmatic Sucker Punch were certainly finished off by her dirty turn in last year’s Spring Breakers. She’s making all the right career moves and is quickly coming into her own as a well-rounded actress capable of carrying a film. But unfortunately she’s not enough to make Gimme Shelter work.

As the film opens, we see Agnes “Apple” Bailey, scarred, bruised and hacking away at her crusty black locks with scissors. As large chunks of hair fall into the sink she utters, “I’m not afraid. You can do this. You can do this.”

We see she’s on a hellish run to find some kind of new start for herself and the baby in her belly. The knock-down-drag-out brawls with her drug-addled mother June, have taken a toll. The tiny Hudgens is hardly recognizable, having put on significant weight for the role. Her eyes are sunken and her gaze distant behind the boyish transformation. Likewise, as her mother, Dawson recedes into a hollow, skeletal frame, teeth blackened and skin bruised.

Apple heads to the suburbs to find her real father who she learns is a well-to-do Wall Street tycoon (Brendan Fraser) living the good life with his wife, two kids, and dog in a rural New Jersey manor. The reunion gets off to a bad start however, as Apple’s father and his wife Joanna (Stephanie Szostak) insist that Apple get an abortion. The trip to the doctor ends with Apple back out on the streets.

There’s a troubling disconnect as we meet Apple’s father, Tom. Once we get past the distraction of Fraser’s poor attempt at a Wall Street hair-slick (he looks like a strange mixture of Donald Trump and George of the Jungle), the unlikely relationship with Apple’s mother just doesn’t make sense. In no conceivable scenario can we grasp the idea that would have Wall Street Tom anywhere near Meth-head June, much less close enough to produce offspring. And a later encounter between the two does nothing to help sort out the distraction. Just another in a long list of disconcerting oversights and storytelling carelessness.

Apple soon finds shelter in the form of a priest named Frank McCarthy (James Earl Jones) who sends Apple to a shelter for pregnant teens run by Kathy DiFiore (Ann Dowd) who was once a runaway teen herself. The Father McCarthy and DiFiore characters are the only two based on actual persons, the remainder – including Apple – an aggregate of many girls who spent time at the shelter.

Apple’s stay at the shelter becomes both the turning point of her life as well as writer/director Ron Krauss’s money shot. Undoubtedly, having a stable base with nonjudgmental support can come as the big break a single mother needs to get back on her feet. But Krauss’s depiction of the shelter is patronizingly eulogized as the glistening solution to our country’s homeless teen pregnancy epidemic.

Gimme Shelter unquestionably has some meaty topics at its center, from teen pregnancy to homelessness to drug abuse and abortion; and Krauss is somewhat successful at illustrating the desperation these women face and the societal impact that affects us all. But he fails considerably by not provoking a public discussion of the topics, instead choosing to provide his own self-aggrandizing answer.

Gimme Shelter - Movie ReviewMPAA Rating: R for sequences of strong bloody horror violence and gore, graphic nudity, sexual content, language and some drug use.
Runtime:
100 mins
Director
: Ronald Krauss
Writer
: Ronald Krauss
Cast:
Vanessa Hudgens, Rosario Dawson, Brendan Fraser
Genre
: Drama
Tagline:
Sometimes you have to leave home to find your family.
Memorable Movie Quote: "By the time I was twelve, I had been in ten shelters"
Distributor:
Roadside Attractions
Official Site:
gimmeshelterthemovie.com
Release Date:
January 24, 2013
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
No details available.

Synopsis: A teenager sets out to find her Wall Street father and is forced into the streets in a desperate journey of survival. Based on a true story.

No details available.



Joomla SEF URLs by Artio