What an amazing movie about love, family, and relationships. It was great to watch a film that used characters that stepped outside of the gay stereotypes seen in most films. It was even better to see a movie that focused on the love (rather than the sex) between the two lead characters.
While there are some scenes that scream "low budget," the end product as a whole was very rewarding. The acting, writing, and directing were all solid.
After so many disappointing gay films, I'm thrilled to have a movie like this come along. If this is a sign of things to come in gay cinema, then I am excited about future films. If you haven't seen "Shelter" yet, go give it watch. You'll be glad you did. Enjoy.
I'm previewing a disc version for the Brisbane Queer Film Festival where Shelter screens on Saturday 24th May 2008. Even in this low res screener, Shelter shines as a film with huge heart, and one that's been made with equal care by the actors and all of the film-makers.
It's not at all like the angst-ridden abomination of a gay surf flick "Tan Lines". Surfing is simply a fact of life element in "Shelter" - it's not used or abused as a device.
"Shelter" is a beautifully edited, spectacular looking and luscious sounding film which is definitely character driven. Each of the main characters is carefully developed so that we quite soon decide that we really do care about Zach, his young nephew Cody and Zach's love interest, Shaun. We want things to work out for them.
We understand that Zach is in a bind - he's allowed himself to be the physical and emotional anchor for a progressively more dysfunctional family, but we know that he deserves much better life options. The writers and director of Shelter have done a fantastic job - not a look or word is wasted, and yet the whole pace of the film is very relaxed.
"Shelter" deserves every accolade that any individual or Festival might care to bestow.
Straight audiences must find "Shelter" to be equally rewarding. The film's theme is, after all, about love, honour and commitment. What could be more wholesome than that?
Don't get me wrong, I'm a huge fan of Brokeback Mt., but I saw a screening of this film at the SF Gay and Lesbian Film Festival tonight and loved it as much as BBM and in some ways appreciated it more. At the Q & A after the screening the producer mentioned that the production company exec who green-lighted the project said he wanted to make "the anti-Brokeback," and in this I think they have succeeded magnificently. This is a genuine, heartfelt story about gay love minus all the tragedy and shattered lives. Which isn't to say there's no drama... Let's just say that some characters in the story have some problems, but mostly they're not a direct result of the love story at the film's core. For my money the acting (with avowed heterosexuals playing the gay roles, as in BBM) was more convincing, the kissing more natural, the sex scenes extremely sexy and moving; another milestone in the realistic portrayal of gay love and sex. The family setting provided a context that allowed one man's coming out story to be just one among many changes all families go through together while simultaneously putting some evil homophobic stereotypes to bed, you should pardon the expression, rather than dwelling on them as in BBM. Bravo to the filmmakers and excellent cast, and I hope you get a chance to see it soon if you weren't lucky enough to be among the 1400 people at the Castro theater tonight. Oh, and the lead actors are drop dead gorgeous and playing surfers. Enough said.
This film is inspiring and the acting is superb. Trevor Wright does an amazing job in making us believe he is struggling to be everything to his family while dealing with his sexuality. Brad Rowe is also incredible. Casting him with Trevor was perfect. They are a true couple in this story. Jonah will go far in his career if he continues to make outstanding films like this one! Nice job to here! Networks for producing such quality work. I would like to know how Jonah came up with the idea for Shelter? As the film gets distributed in theaters, I also hope it makes it to GLBT youth programs so that young audiences can see this film, and be proud of who they are.
It's not really about rich and poor, it's about honesty and honor, and the lack of it.
The one stand-up guy (Trevor Wright) reminds us that there actually *are* good, selfless people in the world. Zach has to deal with and master an unfair world, and part of that iniquity is himself, because he's gay. Trouble outside, trouble inside.
This is a very kind, wonderfully acted movie. Kudos to all involved.
It's odd that we need straight actors to convince us that gay folk are actually human, but these guys do it without apologies.
I attended the Outfest screening for this film last night and was mightily and pleasantly surprised. I'd read the descriptive blurb in the Outfest program and thought "Yeah, whatever...a surfer film." But it was at the John Ford Amphitheatre, my favorite festival venue, which, frankly, was my main reason to go last night. Within the first ten minutes, the venue was quite secondary. I was easily drawn into the story and found myself deeply moved soon in. Having grown up in small town America, the story held a profound resonance for me. Yet, even if that is not your particular experience, this film defies you not to be moved. If you are looking for imperfection here, you will find it. If you allow yourself to be engaged in the story, you won't be disappointed. This one will be with me for a while.
I saw this the other night at a screening in NYC...wasn't even going to go but decided at the last minute to go and so happy I did. This movie completely surprised me and impressed me. Wonderfully directed, great script and spot on acting. Absolutely the best gay themed movie I've seen since Brokeback Mountain and in some ways surpasses that movie. How refreshing to see a film that deals with gay characters and none of them have a disease or are all about sex. Not that there's anything wrong with that but it's about time we see more movies that represent the ENTIRE spectrum of the gay community. The situations here were believable...the two leads had actual chemistry and there was an overall realism to it that we've rarely seen on screen with gay characters. This film has absolute mainstream appeal to it...Go see it and bring your friends!
This has got to be the best film I've seen at the San Francisco LGBT film festival in years. The director and cast were in attendance at the world premiere and they were given a worthy standing ovation. Writer/director Jonah Markowitz did a fantastic job of flushing out real characters. Trevor Wright was a real natural and convincing as someone struggling to come out. He really made you feel his pain. The story about his codependent sister is dead-on. Brad Rowe is like a young Greg Kinnear. You can't help liking him. The soundtrack was excellent and I hope to see it released. This is the first film from here! Network and I hope to see more of this quality. Incidentally, I've noticed on the IMDb search that there are two other films being released in 2007 with the title "Shelter" and there a half dozen films in the past with the same title. Also, on the allmovie guide (AMG) site there is an Italian film with the same title. Interesting enough, that film is being shown at the SF LGBT festival and was changed to Shelter Me. Hopefully, the "surfer gay movie" will stand out.
This one is currently making the festival rounds, and last night played at Los Angeles' Outfest, to an enthusiastic crowd. That it was produced by Here! TV (creators of such awful crud as Dante's Cove) didn't exactly fill me with much hope, but to my surprise, I walked out of last night's screening believing that I'd seen one of the best films Outfest has programmed in years, and one of the best gay films about family dynamics ever. From writer/director Jonah Markowitz down to even the smallest details, this one's a winner. The story seems very simple, but Markowitz takes his very familiar coming-of-age premise and molds it into a very rich and rewarding experience for movie viewers. In a nutshell, the story is about Zach, a talented young artist struggling to balance the demands and responsibilities of his disintegrating family with his need to express himself as an individual and deal with his budding sexuality. Lead actor, Trevor Wright, deserves a lot of praise for giving such a commanding performance in a role that involves a lot of quiet moments. You see so much of the story in Wright's beautiful eyes and nuanced expressions. He has one small scene, while driving home, that had the Outfest audience thunderously cheering, and all it involves is a slow, satisfied smile that creeps across his lips. And that's just one of many truly lovely moments. The rest of the cast is top-notch as well. And the cinematography of Joseph White (lots of beautiful long shots, as well as some amazing surfing footage courtesy of surf director of photography David Warshauer) and the evocative score by J. Peter Robinson (and original songs by Shane Mack) really help make this one of the best gay-themed films made in years. I can't praise it highly enough. See it the first chance you get!
This film is truly enjoyable in all aspects. Its not a big millions of dollars production but is so well realized that once more we think and got sure that too much money isn't everything. The main roles are really believable, in special the main one: The "white trash" boy that re-connects with the old brother of his best friend that happens to be gay. The actor is superb in showing the feelings of an out teen phase that is in fact already a man full of responsibilities in life, always putting his fragile family (well, whats left of it) upfront his own life. Discovering and admitting who he really is.
Some say that Shawn (the older one and love of the main character) was too much patient but you know when we recognize in the other "a right one" in special in the harsh circunstances that the he lived. Patience in a relation is mandatory, of course when there's love.
The movie is about love and care .. and shows it 100% Its a movie for anyone, not only for gays ;) don't miss it.
Do not be expecting the average gay misfortune features that so many homosexuality based films revolve around (i.e.: Brokeback Mountain, My Own Private Idaho) when you get ready to watch this masterpiece. I'm not saying those are bad films, they are superb, but Shelter is a really touching, sincere journey through these interesting characters lives that had it's profound, charming aspects with a beautiful message and it didn't have to use extreme tragedy as a gimmick to amuse the audience. It just mixes in dealing with homosexuality along with all the other problems life brings along the way in a brilliant manner that is very enjoyable; I was so entertained with the story.
The main two characters, Zach and Shaun, have amazing, incredible, believable chemistry that was portrayed excellently by the actors to where you feel like this scene is going on right in front of you. I felt for Zach; his character was so true natured and likable and you wish for anything that everything works out well for him and Shaun in the end. It shows how a perfect relationship plays out; they each care for the other's feelings and life. Zach sees Shaun as a positive role model for Cody, and Shaun also has been one of the most affectionate and caring people in Zach's life. Shaun thinks Zach is talented, misunderstood and needs someone there for him through all his hardships. They both make each other laugh, take care of Cody, and while they have their minor difficulties along the way, they understand each other's problems and desire one another not just for their looks, but the personality and warmness they bring to each other. Purely delightful.
The low budget wasn't even a problem, because you're so mesmerized in the adventure that you pay no attention whatsoever to any problems it has because of the budget, if I even remember it having any flaws at all. The performances were amazing from the entire cast, as I have said, and they could not have gotten any better actors and actresses for these characters. I've stated my opinion on Zach and Shaun, but Jeanne was a believable, stress-filled sister who wishes her life could fit in with her family, and Gabe was the best friend most gay guys wish they had; someone who just saw their homosexuality as no thing, and liked them as a friend for the qualities they share and fun they have. The directing, writing and screenplay were straightforward, but like I said, ingenious.
I have to quote another user in their review: "The beautiful thing about Shelter is that it doesn't rely on inane gay stereo-types (i.e.: flamboyant characters, drag queens, limp-wristed high-pitched voiced effete men, gratuitous sex bordering on pornography, etc.) or heavy-handed subject matter (drug addiction, HIV/AIDS). Shelter handles the hurtle of coming-out with such warmth, humor, and touching grace. And the sub-theme of two gay men becoming aptly-able father figures to a young child sends a remarkable message that perhaps not all heterosexuals may be capable of raising a child as effectively as two responsible gay men with strong family values in their hearts." Shelter is just that, perfectly said. It manages all the material so well and creates this serene, lovely atmosphere that we are comfortable with.
All I have said is of course in my opinion, but here again, look at all the other positivity it has received, so I feel as if most people got how wonderful Shelter was, and it deserves any praise it gets. Don't just judge it as a "gay" film; it's one of the best movies I've ever seen in general. I wish more people would see it and appreciate it. I know I am so glad that I had the honor of viewing it.
I cannot imagine a film that depicts the real relationships that many of us in the Gay community are looking for. A new best friend becoming a lover and partner; someone who sees you for who you are and not what they can make of you. That unbelievable structure and support we seek from an individual, someone to complete us and hopefully better us. It is harder to see it when it presents itself right in your face, you take that step back and say, 'Whoa, okay when did THAT happen!'. You test the waters slip in and learn to swim all over again.
SHELTER has become my goto movie when I am feeling down, and a few of my straight friends have found this to be a very inspirational film in their own lives.
I just saw this movie at the Philadelphia Gay and Lesbian Film Festival. It was amazing and exponentially better than Brokeback Mountain. This is a love story where the angst and passion were so alive. The interplay amongst the characters were very real and delicious in so many areas. It wasn't cheesy at all and the entire audience was focused on the movie. I highly recommend the film. This is one film I wouldn't mind seeing twice at the festival! On a rating of (a) pay full price for film, (b) pay matinée price, (c) rent DVD at store, (d) Netflix - somewhere in the queue or (e) don't bother...it is totally (A). It was so worth paying full price for the film. Go see it!
How I wish this film existed when I was 18 years old. It would have helped me reconcile my inner-struggles and feelings about being a homosexual much more easily and given me more structure of what to expect from someone should I have become involved with another guy. Fortunately, younger generations now and to come will benefit not only at an entertaining level with "Shelter," but also be rewarded with a reflection of themselves of the two stellar, magnificent male characters, Zach and Shaun, in the film.
After some months of hearing about this film through blogs and on MySpace, I finally got to see "Shelter" this past weekend. It is an absolutely superb, wonderfully woven film. With a strong California look and feel as a backdrop, the film is about young Zach (played remarkably by Trevor Wright) struggling with maintaining responsibility to his family while dealing with friends and potentially giving up his academic dreams to be an artist. Eventually, he develops feelings for his best friend's brother (played by veteran talent, Brad Rowe) during the course of events, triggering conflicting feelings almost beyond his control. Fortunate for him, the grand support of Shaun, his best friend's gay brother, Zach can see there is light at the end of his dark tunnel. And eventually he develops not only the strength to accept himself and Shaun into his life, but become an extraordinary father-figure to his 5 year old nephew, Cody.
The beautiful thing about "Shelter" is that it doesn't rely on inane gay stereo-types (i.e.: flamboyant characters, drag queens, limp-wristed high-pitched voiced effete men, gratuitous sex bordering on pornography, etc.) or heavy-handed subject matter (drug addiction, HIV/AIDS). "Shelter" handles the hurtle of coming-out with such warmth, humor, and touching grace. And the sub-theme of two gay men becoming aptly-able father figures to a young child sends a remarkable message that perhaps not all heterosexuals may be capable of raising a child as effectively as two responsible gay men with strong family values in their hearts.
Once more, what sets "Shelter" apart from most other gay films is how straight-forward and beautifully portrayed it is. Where most other American-made gay films offer are poor writing, terrible acting, bad direction, typical campy content, leading and supporting promiscuous gay characters, shrilling dialouge -- need I list those horrible films -- "Shelter" is strongly distinguished, sincere, and authentic. This is a wonderful film which will undoubtedly become a future classic.
I see as many "gay movies" as I can, and have accumulated quite a collection of DVDs. I think it comes from having grown up and been a young adult and even not so young adult at a time when there were few gay characters in movies, let alone a genre called "gay cinema." As people who know me are aware, I'm pretty forgiving as a theatergoer/film-goer, and often manage to see good even in plays and movies that have gotten mostly negative reviews.
Tonight I saw a movie that I can rave about without reservations, Jonah Markowitz' Shelter, a film every bit as fine (in all respects) as those which get nominated for Independent Spirit awards every year.
Shelter is the story of Zach, a 20ish surfer/skateboarder/artist with a dead-end job and a dead-end life. With an older sister more interested in going after the wrong men than in taking care of her 6-year-old son, it falls on Zach's shoulders to be the father figure in young Cody's life. (Zach and Jeanne's mother is dead, and their father pretty much non-existent since injuring his back.) Zach has a best friend, Gabe, and an on-again-off-again girlfriend Tori. The return of Gabe's older brother Shaun makes Zach realize something about himself that he'd managed to avoid thinking about, and soon the two end up "more than friends." What makes Shelter such a fine film, besides Markowitz' gifts as a director/writer, the quality of its music, editing, and art direction, and the excellent performances of its cast (and that's already saying a lot), is the way it deals with seen-that-done-that themes in new and non-clichéd ways. Yes, it's a coming out story, yes, Zach has trouble accepting who he is, yes, Zach's sister doesn't react well to having a gay brother, but no, Zach's best friend doesn't desert him, and no, his girlfriend doesn't have a hissy fit when she learns the truth, and in the end, Zach turns out to be quite a man.
Ultimately, Shelter treats its gay romance pretty much like any straight indie film would treat a boy-girl one, and if ever there was a film which shows how "love makes a family," Shelter is that film.
Trevor Wright (Zach), Brad Rowe (Shaun), Tina Holmes (Jeanne), Ross Thomas (Gabe), Katie Walder (Tori), and young Jackson Worth (Cody) couldn't be better and deserve to be remembered in award season, as do the filmmakers.
Keep a copy of Shelter handy to loan to anyone who bemoans the state of gay cinema in 2008. It's alive and well, thank you very much.
(Note: Rowe and Holmes made their marks in two of 1998's best gay films, he in Billy's Hollywood Screen Kiss and she in Edge Of Seventeen. It was his 2nd, her 1st movie, and the beginning of successful Hollywood careers for both. It's great to see the two of them return to the genre 10 years later in such an outstanding film.)
I'm still trying to figure out why I can't stop thinking about this film! After several months, dozens of viewings and more long-winded message board posts than I dare admit, I've decided to take my time and ride out this wave until the next cinematic revelation comes along.
So, why the movie madness? . . . Here are some of the things that I love about Shelter - regardless of logic or reason:
The story: It's easy to dismiss kitchen sink realism as the stuff of made-for-TV movies, but this treatment is so appropriate for Shelter's plot. The domestic scenes allow the viewer to relate to the characters, internalize even the subtlest emotions and experience the level of intimacy portrayed.
The significance: Although the film-making process highlights its independent approach, the movie stands out by deftly combining key elements from television and popular culture. A transcendent quality reflects the same images found on the average TV screen: the family-driven Lifetime/Hallmark drama; the sexy HBO/Showtime series; the slick MTV/VHI music video (I think Zach and Shaun's nebulous age gap is best described as the difference between these two channels); not to mention, the youth-oriented ESPN/X Games sports culture. There's even a Jerry Springer/Oprah tinge to Zach's family struggles and his sister's promiscuity. In my opinion, the film's most powerful attraction is its post-millennial take on two popular 80's flicks: Flashdance and The Karate Kid. Shelter's anti-Brokeback ambitions are wonderfully realized, but, to me, the movie's anti-Cinderella subtext stands as its most enchanting (and radical) feature. In this departure from the original tale, a codependent family dynamic must rescue itself from implosion and the battle for true love involves three charming princes and only one "evil" sister.
The sensitivity: If a wave of pop culture makes Shelter relevant, a strong undercurrent of art makes the movie resonate. The visuals are both edgy and ethereal, perfectly capturing the conflict between Zach's dismal reality and his suppressed desires. The dialog is mundane, profane and poetic all at the same time. The melodic soundtrack establishes the stream of consciousness upon which the plot drifts forward. Most of all, the narrative arcs are largely left up to the viewer's interpretation and emotional projection. These layers help Shelter succeed at being an art film in the classic sense while serving as a contemporary work of *heart*.
The sensibleness: I know my explanation may not appeal to logic or reason, but it doesn't mean that the film can't. My absolute favorite aspect of the story is that it makes sense. Sure, there are discussion boards picking apart missing details, but, overall, I think this is one of the most logical love stories that I've seen in a long time. The very fact that I'm using the words "logical" and "love story" in the same sentence is amazing enough. The movie illustrates the deep connection between our emotional responses and our past experiences. It also reveals how finding intimacy helps us to embrace our true selves. Shelter reminds us that life has its own inner wisdom and that our existence flows in directions which we cannot immediately understand. Upon looking back (or up at a movie screen), however, we realize that these currents are what pull us towards our destiny.
Most films that have gay characters have them as shallow and promiscuous party goers. Also usually the "romance" is just sex, sex and more sex. Not this film though.
For once we see a true romance between men where they connect not only in bed but in life too. Because of this I was able to connect to the film better than any gay themed film I've watched before; I was practically giddy when Zach was on the phone with Sean cause I have been in that situation before.
Other gay films should be like this one, realistic and with real men that have care more than about how they look in the mirror, we get enough of those twinks from the rest of Hollywood. I am going to recommend this to all of my friends and buy a copy right away.
I watch a lot of movies, almost daily. there are some movies you see once and forget soon enough. and then there are those which you see without any preconceived notions and love so much, you pass on a lot of "good" movies you haven't seen to watch that movie repeatedly. shelter is one such movie. for a little over a month, I've been pleasantly obsessed with shelter. my first reaction was, i identify with most themes in this film, except that i haven't met my Shaun yet. Trevor wright's performance is out of this world. he is a hundred percent brilliant in every frame and the best thing about this awesome movie. i definitely think he deserves more leading roles in such meaningful movies, and he's definitely Oscar material. the story is very well crafted, the screenplay is done well. the music deserves special mention, not only because they work very well with the story, but they are very good, especially the songs by Shane mack. the other actors do a fine job, whether its the kid, Jackson Wurth or the love interest brad Rowe.Tina Holmes,Ross Thomas and Katie Walder are all very good. the movie is very well shot. the locales are terrific. this movie deserves a wider recognition than it gets. what i liked most about it is that besides gay love and coming out, it deals with a number of other themes, and gay love is basically what saves the protagonist, instead of making life harder for him. shelter is a thoughtful, excellently made film and i wish it really gets all the accolades it deserves.
I remember when "Brokeback Mountain" first came out. It caused an uproar. It was considered to be a landmark in "gay cinema," and it was supposed to "change your life." Well. I don't really consider it a landmark, and it didn't change my life. When I first saw BBM, I didn't like it. It took another viewing or two for it to grow on me. And while now, after two years, I can enjoy the movie from a detached position and consider it to be a well-directed and well-acted movie, I still don't really see what the big deal is.
And let me just say one thing: "Brokeback Mountain" has NOTHING on "Shelter." Have you ever watched a movie and just instantly fell in love with it? It's an indescribable feeling. You ultimately just feel like that movie is made for you to watch, to enjoy, and to hopefully implore others to watch. Not harass, but just let people know that you think it's a good film. The last movie I really, truly remember feeling that way about was "Finding Neverland" back in 2004. November of 2004, actually, so it's been almost four years since I've felt this way about a movie.
The summary on IMDb does not do the film justice. To really, and accurately, grasp the concept, you need to watch it. If you go on Rotten Tomatoes to check out its score, I fear you will be swayed from watching it. I would know; it almost swayed me. I went on Rotten Tomatoes to check out the score, and it's not exactly top-notch. Not many people voted on it, but it still does not have a high score. As I was looking at the meter and reading some short reviews, I thought to myself, "Great. I wanted to watch this movie, but what if I'm just wasting my time?" So I compromised. I watched the movie online, in parts. I skipped to the last part, the end of the movie, and watched solely that.
And you know what? I LOVED IT! I didn't think it was possible to fall in love with eight minutes of a movie, let alone the end of a movie, but I did. And there it was. I'm being completely serious. After watching the end, naturally I wanted to watch the rest. And I did. And the whole thing was just beautiful.
Trevor Wright is astounding as Zach, a young man who's struggling with his life on a day-to-day basis with his family, his on-again/off-again girlfriend, and his job. While watching him, it's almost like you're being pulled into his world and you're not watching someone act. It's like you're watching Zach go about his day and the problems he endures. I hope that Trevor gets more critical acclaim for this role, as I'm not sure if anyone else could have done it as well as him.
Brad Rowe as Shaun is funny, charming, and sweet as a confidante, friend, and partner to Zach. He's outgoing, friendly, and knows how to put a smile on Zach's, and Cody's (Zach's nephew) face. He and Trevor have chemistry on screen in such a way that it's hard to believe these are two actors. Again, it's like you're just watching them go about their lives.
Too many movies with homosexual themes are forced, awkward, over-acted, or any combination of those previous things. To be able to capture a movie that literally revolves around family and love and intimacy, without falling into the trap that so many other movies have (including "straight" romantic comedies), amazes me. I feel privileged to have been able to take part in the magic that is this movie. To me, it's a new favorite and has surpassed several of my other favorites based on acting, direction, charisma, and overall wow-factor. That's exactly what this movie made me do: Go WOW! The love and intimacy are genuine. The struggle and longing for a family is realistic and heartwarming. And the bottom line is that the characters are human beings that you empathize with, care about, and hope for the best for.
I give this movie 9 out of 10. It really deserves 10 out of 10, but I feel compelled to warn you that, on occasion, SOME parts are just a TINY bit overacted. Those parts mostly involve the words "cool" or "great". Those two words are used many times throughout the film, and it's a little bit annoying, but it's not a big deal. It's mostly just what I imagine is supposed to be California-speak, though I myself am not from California and am therefore not a reliable resource on the subject.
Please just give the movie a chance. I don't think you will regret it. I think you will enjoy it, and hopefully find the magic in it that I did.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
First thing's first. Those of you comparing Shelter to Brokeback Mountain should just give it up. Brokeback is in a different league, it belongs with films like The Wizard of Oz and Sunset Boulevard, it's a masterpiece, a milestone in cinematic history, not that the idiots at AMPAS noticed.
I'd seen Tan Lines and swore I'd never sit through another crappy gay surfer flick but I'm glad I took a chance and watched Shelter, this is an outstanding film. The dialogue is so true to life it's remarkable. I mean this movie is set in San Pedro, I live several thousand miles north in Toronto, yet the dialogue and the way people live felt right even for me.
I too love this film and highly recommend it. Any criticism I might have would be petty compared to what this film delivers. Watch Shelter for Wright's performance as Zach - but it has so much more going for it. I also really liked Tina Holmes's performance as the selfish sister. Her character isn't likable but there's a vulnerability, an insecurity she projects that helps you understand why Zach goes way out there to support her and his nephew Cody. Zach is a truly decent young man with a good loving heart but his sister is adrift in life and without Zach as her anchor you know she'd be lost. I love the brotherly/sisterly interplay between Zach and Jeanne, very well written and acted.
My favourite scene takes place in the "Pacific Diner" the morning after the party when Zach is confronted by his best friend Gabe. It could have easily descended into cliché, but it came off as genuine and heartfelt. It's a corny scene but I really appreciated Gabe's ready acceptance of Zach and how their friendship transcends sexual orientation.
The soundtrack is also uniformly excellent. This entire film is a labour of love. Even the art sense is exceptional, it's superb. Sometimes a movie resonates and this is one of those times.
Don't we all wish we had a great guy like Shaun in our lives? In a way Shelter sort of is the anti-Brokeback movie. I don't know, this movie snuck up and got to me. Kudos to Jonah Markowitz and the people over at Here! for making Shelter. And a big thanks to all the actors, musicians, artists and everyone associated with it. You've made a wonderful film.