Gimme Shelter: Movie Review

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“Gimme Shelter” is based on the true story of Agnes “Apple” Bailey and her incredible journey to motherhood.  Written and directed by an experienced but relatively unknown Ron Krauss, the film shines mostly through the performances by Vanessa Hudgens and Rosario Dawson. Both performers have never been better, and Hudgens is proving that she has quite a bit to offer on screen. Admittedly, I am a bit surprised with her range. 

After taking all the abuse she can handle from her mother June (Dawson), Agnes (Hudgens) flees from her home and hops on a bus to New Jersey in order to seek out Tom Fitzpatrick (Brendan Fraser), the father she has never met.  The reunion doesn’t go smoothly since Tom has no clue what to do with a teenage daughter he never met and it doesn’t help that his wife Joanna (Stephanie Szostak) does not want a pregnant teenager in her house around her kids. 

It doen’t take long for Agnes to end up in a shelter for teenage mothers and that is where her life begins to change. Finally feeling like she is in a place that she belongs and is cared for, Agnes develops something she had never had before, a sense of hope.  The shelter is actually the home of Kathy (Ann Dows), a woman who two decades prior was homeless as well. She got a job and a home and decided to open it up to young girls who were exactly like her. 

Fraser is good here as a father that really does want to try and do the right thing by his daughter, but the scenes between Dawnson and Hudgens are the best.  There is one heartbreaking  scene after Agnes’s car accident where June comes to the hospital to take her home.  We find out exactly why the drugged out mother wants her daughter and soon-to-be grandchild home with her.  When you think June couldn’t be a more horrible person, there is another scene later on in a church that would most likely surprise anyone.

“Gimme Shelter” is tough but inspiring and though the writing could use some work, the performances elevate it.  One issue here is that it’s PG-13 rating kept the film from going too dark, which it could have benefited from. Parts of it feel a bit too light, but that is a minor issue.  “Gimme Shelter” is definitely a film worth checking out.

By: Marc Ferman

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