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Shelter More at IMDbPro »

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7 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

( Hey, Brad: try sneak'n in a little "tongue"..........

Author: arizona-philm-phan from Arizona
10 June 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

First off, it must be said that, whether straight or gay (except for those already "out"), putting yourself "out there" for this type of role has got to be an extremely difficult decision. Whether or not taking these parts will be seen as a bad career move, both Wright and Rowe absolutely shine in this used to be said: these guys got Chemistry. There's a naturalness, a comfortableness between the two that's seldom been achieved in other gay romances set to film.

Also, big kudos to Director, Jonah Markowitz for being able to draw out such intimately physical scenes between our two leads. Kissing, especially, comes across as unforced, unrushed and completely enjoyed by the characters (even if and when "tongue" might be involved). And I'd call that kind of "acting" going above and beyond. Would that all American, gay romance directors achieve this same degree of natural intimacy on the part of their male couples; very few have. In my opinion, only French director, Christian Faure, in his 2000 French production, "Just A Question Of Love" (or "Juste Une Question D'Amour" if you're looking it up here at, set the bar higher. Intimacy between the two in that film fairly crackles.

As for their individual performances:

-- Trevor Wright puts Zach across as the ultimate likable guy---one who puts everybody else and their needs before his own (whether they deserve it or not). He's often put upon, yet he stays so wonder that Shaun falls for him. He makes us all fall for him. And nowhere do we do so more than when, at the end of his most intimate scene, he and Shawn are lying happily face to face, and Trevor has brought Zach's expression to such a peacefully satisfied level that Shaun just has to say: "You're so beautiful" (and at that moment we can see he truly is). Then, our Zach can only shyly bring himself to wrinkle his nose and softly scoff: "Shut up." What an endearing moment.

-- Re Brad Rowe: In preparing for this shoot and the extreme intimacy of some of the scenes, someone had to lead the way. I more than suspect that person was the older and much more film-experienced 'The Brad-ster.' This becomes apparent in the DVD Voice-over Commentary by Markowitz, Brad and Trevor, and you reach the conclusion that Brad's comfortably easy and low key approach was just what was needed to pull Zach (and newer performer, Trevor) out of any shell of fears and doubts he might be having. In the end it is through Brad's Shaun that we see Zach being so very fortunate as to have wound up with a loving/caring person who would remove him from the undesirable circumstances in which he lived.......and, more importantly, get him into the advanced art schooling he so definitely deserved.

As concerns their time-together scenes and performances, it becomes obvious from listening to specific comments by Trevor and Brad in the Voice-over that they are quite proud of their work in the love-making scenes, particularly the really intimate moments. How often could we expect to hear non-gay actors express such thoughts---knowing everyone watching the video would hear them? Not often, I suspect.

Not to forget about Director, Jonah Markowitz, it's obvious he has the chops to run with the big boys. Why? Because for any film to be successful, it is the "little touches" a director/scriptwriter throws in that mean the difference in a memorable production and one that isn't. Take the exciting scene we all love where Zach returns to Shaun's house and, for all practical purposes, throws himself into Shaun's arms (and bed). Markowitz doesn't just shoot this happening; instead he gives us a very emotional lead-in scene of an agonizing Zach, pacing his little art workspace, nervously knocking things about. Finally, he's fully admitted to himself who he is, sexually, and what kind of relationship he wants with the one who means the most to him. At this point, he's got our sympathies and has us worked up almost as much as himself......just waiting for that next step to be taken. It's then, in the very next scene, that we see Shaun heading for his front door and the person we know is anxiously waiting there. What happens next is--Wow! So, folks, this is how a really successful director does things.

Moving on to other considerations, not everything about the film works out so well for this commenter. While Tina Holmes does a fine job with her role as Zach's sister, Jeanne, it is not her fault that her frequently whiney/naggy, oh-poor-me, on screen time exceeds what, otherwise, would have made for a better film. We've quickly learned that it is Zach who is the real put upon one, whose life is being stolen. Better, by far, would have been less scenes involving her and more of Zach/Shaun's developing relationship.

And what's my favorite scene? Well, I have to say that, other than those arousing "BGLM" shots (Dudes, ya just gotta take in the DVD Voice-over feature to learn the meaning of this abbreviation), my fave is definitely that quiet, easy, surfside stroll taken by Zach and Shaun, their arms comfortably bumping from time to time. They begin talking of writer, Shaun's, last book, a gay romance novel. And because of Zach's glowing remarks making it clear he's read the book, it starts becoming clear to us that it's becoming clear to Shaun that Zach clearly knows about and is comfortable with Shaun's, shall we say, big proclivity in life. Then, it's, like, WHOA!!! it suddenly hits Shaun just what might lie ahead for the two of them. It's a perfect little scene.

***This film is becoming "Addictive." ***Other such habit formers: "Just A Question Of Love" (Wow) / "Brokeback Mountain" / "Boy Culture" / "All Over The Guy" / "Second Skin" / "The Man I Love" / "Latter Days"

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4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Superb and Moving Film of Love and Sacrifice

Author: bgtaylor802 from United States
19 August 2011

When I first watched this film, I was unprepared for and deeply moved by the honest and touching screenplay by director Jonah Markowitz and the superb quality of acting by a fine cast. Trevor Wright can be proud of his convincing and moving portrayal of a young man at a point in his life at which he is confused about and questioning his sexual orientation. Trevor Wright develops his character, Zach, in a completely natural and unforced manner. His control of his body language and facial expression -- particularly his eyes -- has to be seen to be believed in an actor of his age. His dialog flows naturally, giving one the impression that it is all being said for the first time. This last is true of the entire cast attesting to the knowing guidance of their director.

Also brilliant are the performances by Brad Rowe, Tina Holmes, Ross Thomas, Katie Walder and Jackson Wurth. Repeated viewing of the film makes even more clear the depth of characterizations by this very able cast. Most impressive is the emotion expressed by eye contact achieved between Trevor Wright and Brad Rowe -- something very uncommon and unforgettable in a film of this kind.

My only criticism is that a few scenes seem a little rushed. Another 8 to 10 minutes wouldn't have hurt this fine film. One example is the night scene in Zach's (Trevor Wright) backyard, beautifully shot incidentally, with the lights of the Vincent Thomas bridge in the background. A little more time could have been given to Zach's indecision to go to Shaun (Brad Rowe) and allow the scene to flow more naturally; a closeup of Zach's looking out at the bridge and then a shot of the bridge that will take him to Shaun might have been nice.

It is regrettable that this fine movie has not been given wide theatrical distribution.

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4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:


Author: nicole_ward from United Kingdom
23 February 2011

I only recently found out about this movie and I'm so glad I did! The movie is so amazing and inspiring to watch. It is a great film and I would urge people to watch it if they have no already. However, if you like huge box office smashers with plenty of action, this movie is not for you. It's so true to real life and has the ability to inspire others. The storyline is very simple yet so interesting and moving. It's a simple movie with a beautiful meaning behind it and I'm so happy I got to see it. It is now definitely one of my best movies and I wish more people would make movies like this, instead of all the non meaningful rubbish thats out there today. I really do recommend people to watch it, especially if you are thinking about it, it is worth it and you will hopefully enjoy it as much as I did!

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4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

A great movie.. Makes me proud im gay..

Author: bammark from Philippines
8 February 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

There are "sleeper" films, and then there is Shelter. This small indie film received a very limited theatrical release in the spring of 2007 with a television debut on the subscription-only here! network only a month later. And suddenly, it was all anyone could talk about. Plenty of folks deemed it "the gay surfer movie," but it's ultimately as much about surfing as Brokeback Mountain is about animal husbandry. Instead, Shelter is a riveting family drama and a story of first gay love set in a working class world. Starring Billy's Hollywood Screen Kiss's Brad Rowe in a career-reviving performance and newcomer Trevor Wright, there are no gay bars in Shelter, no drugs, no drag queens, no circuit anthems, no gay- bashings, no AIDS scares, and no screaming parents to speak of. And we gay folks loved it anyway. Or maybe, because it was so fresh and different, that's why we loved it.

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4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Great film!

Author: striver from DC area
19 January 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

OK, there may be some predictable moments in the storyline, but they are easily overshadowed by the sheer enjoyment brought about in this film. Trevor and Brad are awesome portraying Zach and Shaun -- they work incredibly well together. Even just seeing them hug each other tightly (with their clothes on!) was captivating. It was refreshing to see gay people portrayed in a slightly different way than so many other 'gay films'. The first part moved a little slow -- but that was OK -- it was needed to set the stage for everything. All of a sudden I found myself captivated by the movie and wanted it to go on even longer -- I am sure you will feel the same way too. Ranks right up there with Beautiful Thing and Latter Days -- and even Brokeback, with a happy ending.

PS. I wrote the above after seeing it the first time -- but after viewing it again, I am even more convinced of what a great film this is. Trevor Wright is incredible in this part, as is Brad Rowe. They are both so natural and REAL.... you completely forget you are watching actors. Don't miss this one....

The good story, true-to-life writing, great acting, and awesome soundtrack make this one of the best films out there. Love it!

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4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Does "Shelter" Disappoint?

Author: afatsoweezer from Missoula, MT
5 October 2008

Writer to artist, skateboarder to surf-boarder ... another couple pops for the big screen, and they also popped for us. What's the matter with some people? Who can judge lust or love, or give feelings for someone else a timeframe? Lessons tend to show us the direction we're suppose to moving. "Shelter" gives us that, and more.

Great tunes. Perfect storyteller's account of what it's like in a day or night of two fantastic characters, like Zach and Shaun. Trevor Wright is awesome in his role. Comfortable, adorable and realistic. I've always like Brad Rowe, sexy and childlike in his approach.

The plot is constantly in motion, as the essence of the film keeps up with life's many twists and turns. Just having the dream means something. If we lose that, what's the point? We might as well get off the merry-go-round, find another ride to conquer and other people to share its thrill. You'll enjoy "Shelter". Period.

As a writer, we pick the best and worst of our heroes and heroines, throw in a dash of surrealism, then watch the sparks fly. Hearts explode with emotional charge. Heads figure out what the hell is going on. The feet and hands merely follow and play along. Do we ever get what we want? Yes, I think we do. Maybe not enough sometimes or as often as we wish, but when the highs and lows equal what happens to Zach and Shaun through it all, it'd be like thumbing our noses at probability if we didn't take the chance.

As an artist, I take the mood circling inside my head, put the paintbrush on my canvas and just let it soar. We cannot expect much more than that. If we're lucky, truly lucky than we've done our job well, right? I dare you to watch "Shelter" and not know what it's like to make abrupt changes in your life, and deal with the consequences. One moment, a season or a year can make the difference between being happy and feeling with a heavier heart.

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5 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

It's Movies Like These, That Gives me Hope

Author: rocknRolls from United States
1 February 2011

I love this movie! I first saw this movie three days ago and I have watched it each day and will probably do so in the future.

This movie is far exceeds any of the same gendered movies I've seen. I've seen quite a few. In fact, this movie is for everyone, not just for a particular group of genders! It's that good that it crosses the same boundaries for everyone. This movie is about a surfer who finds a comfort with his friend's brother. The actors in this movie play their parts incredibly. I would definitely recommend this movie to ANYONE.

Last but not least, I just can't get enough of it. I cannot stop watching it! It makes me feel like I need to watch this movie every day just to lift my moods up or get me through the day. I'm always moody and lonely I guess. But w/e it's movies like these that gives me hope.

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5 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Thank you Shelter!

Author: carlo_manalansay from Saudi Arabia
3 October 2009

I am bisexual and not a fan of movies of any genre. I usually end up turning the screen off in the middle of a film when I get bored, when i don't like where the story takes me or just simply feeling sleepy. I watch this film accidentally in several parts in youtube and luckily i started on part 1; it hold a grip on me and i was feeling compelled and intrigued to continue to part 2 until i finished all the parts of the movie. I never had an effect from any movie like this before, i don't understand... i really don't understand. i don't know why... i cannot explain the feeling i'm having while watching the movie. it brings me to a place within me that i never felt and discovered before... and i felt so strange about it. it made me smile but there is also this part of me that is so freaking sad - a part of me that is wanting to experience the love that is being told in this movie. Few days and even weeks after watching this movie, the scenes keep coming back in my head - especially the argument on the car scene - it made me stand still, it made me feel longing for something, it made me smile alone, it made me hope, it made me look at things differently and see life on another perspective. I think the movie moved me, crawled in my system and changed me. I just downloaded the full movie through torrents because it is so impossible to buy or even rent a movie like this in saudi arabia. I do not know if I should be happy that i was able to learn about this movie; confused that I am, I also even hope that i did not get the chance to watch because it just made me realize how empty my heart is right now; I hope things are just the way it was before. What the..., i am really having an identity crisis. Maybe I am just afraid, coward to face the real world that i live in. I am now building this strength within me to express to the world who really I am. I know things will turn out better soon. I have to love myself and I need to free my heart and mind for all the trappings that I myself fabricated. I am beginning to tell myself that I should be living my life that way it should be... I know that I felt so heavy inside because I haven't let go of th real me. I am hopeful that I will find my self worth and the love that I only wished for. I think I am more stronger now, I know now what I want and I need to work my way to it... please wish me luck Thank you Shelter.

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6 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

A Guy Named Zach

Author: Lechuguilla from Dallas, Texas
4 October 2008

Unsure of his sexuality, Zach (a really good performance by Trevor Wright) lives in southern California where he works a menial job and enjoys both surfing the waves and creating "street art". His adult sister has a five-year-old son, but she is not a good mother. And so Zach must look after both, especially the boy, while the mom parties and goes off with her dimwit boyfriend. Zach's best bud is a fellow surfer named Gabe, who has a gay brother. Given Zach's loyalty to his sister and nephew, and the irresponsibility of his sister, the story has strong thematic value.

The film's script is rich in characterization and melodrama. Dialogue contains some good subtext. The plot structure is okay but predictable, and reminds me of "Making Love", a 1982 film with the same general gay theme. The lead character in that film also was a guy named Zach.

Overall acting in "Shelter" is quite good. There's not a weak performance anywhere. Color cinematography is beautiful, and includes lots of super long shots and some lens flares. Production design is detailed and realistic.

My main quibble with the film is background music that is weak. Also, I could have wished for fewer montage sequences (I counted no fewer than five). Although they are a lazy writer's gimmick to prop up a script, their inclusion doesn't seem to have bothered other viewers.

"Shelter" is a low-budget gay-theme film that doesn't seem low budget at all. I attribute that to excellent visuals, professional level acting, and quality production design. Overall, it's a fine film, and a worthy contemporary update to "Making Love".

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7 out of 10 people found the following review useful:


Author: mike from United States
10 November 2007

Saw Shelter Thursday night at the opening of reeling26, the Chicago Gay and Lesbian International Film Festival. Great, great film. Straightforward story-telling. Realistic. Engaging performances. I certainly hope, as Brad Rowe said during the Q & A afterward, that this crosses over.

Brokeback Mountain was important for restarting an interest in gay-themed movies, but this film, in my opinion, is a much more important movie. It's the step to mainstream. A quiet step. It is blatant in its normalcy and beautiful to its core. I fell in love with Cody, the 5-year old nephew, who is instrumental to the movie's reality. Though rated adult it is a family movie.

If you get a chance to see it, please do. I don't usually go to movies in theatres; this is one that I'm glad I did. I loved it from beginning to end.

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