Movie Review: Gimme Shelter

You know that weird gut feeling you get sometimes? It’s a feeling you get whenever your tired of seeing the same type of movie over and over. It’s the feeling I had after seeing over the top comedies and big action movies one after the next. Going to see Gimme Shelter was the solution.

Plot: 16-year-old Agnes “Apple Bailey (Vanessa Hudgens) is a troubled, aggresive girl who has lived in abusive environments her whole life. Apple’s mother June, played by Rosario Dawson, is a sleazy drug addict who doesn’t care much for Apple besides the extra welfare money she gets for being her parent. Apple, fed up with her living situation, sets out to find her long lost father. Upon meeting him, she finds out that he is a successful Wall Street Broker with a wife and two kids. After a dispute she leaves. Apple eventually ends up in a shelter for pregnant young women run by a spritiual women.

Main Point: Despite a line of capable actors, the film falls flat with dull dialogue and a script that does little more than go beyond standard cliches.

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Slow mutterings start the movie. “I’m okay. I’m not scared. I can do this.” Apple says to herself in the mirror while chopping off her black hair strand by strand. It’s noticed from the get go that Apple is misguided, not having a clear head to make decisions. She is leaving the abusive house she lives in with her druggie mom. With an addressed letter to guide her, she lands at her long lost father’s house. Tom, her father (Brendon Fraser), greets her with a former look and a head of hair gel (typical).

Apple sticks out like a coffee stain on a t-shirt compared to Tom’s lifestyle. Tom lives with his wife and two kids in a wealthy, picket fence neighborhood. When the married couple find out Apple is pregnant, they schedule for her to get an abortion. Frustrated, she storms out and onto the streets again. Stealing a car and wrecking puts her in the hospital and under the guidance of a chaplain Father McCarthy (James Earl Jones).

Only halfway through runtime and the film is already unsettling. The dialogue feels weirdly unnatural. The acting and scripting does little to add originality to an environment that has been seen several times before. Apple is constantly in angst against the ones around her. Then suddenly shortly after arriving at the group home for pregnant teens, she changes. She likes the place she is at. There is stability and a sense of safety. The problem is that the viewer never sees this. The script does nothing to make it seem like  a new sense of being has been developed. The idea that Apple has developed close relationships and belonging with all the girls feels false. There wasn’t enough building. The whole film starts to feel like a gimmicky PBS TV special.

The start of the film was promising but interest quickly drops after Apple is taken into the care of the priest and group home. Despite the lacking script, Vanessa Hudgens, Brendon Fraser and Rosario Dawson give refreshing performances. This just isn’t the best work to see these actors in.  Hudgens shines farther with her acting chops in The Frozen Ground and Dawson with her performance in Kids. Rating: C

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