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So good!
Browneyes_1222 November 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Vanessa was really amazing in this film! It completely shocked me how good she really was, I wasn't expecting her acting to blow me out of the water, but she did. Her performance really made the film for me, with this and the frozen ground I see her going places. Not only her but the whole cast was really strong. It was a heart wrenching storyline which, delivered by these amazing and strong actors just empowered me I guess. I was really looking forward to watching this as I thought the story line was unique and not cliché and unlike anything I've watched before. Also the fact that it was based in a true story just interested me all the more to watch it and I can honestly say that I was not disappointed! I would highly recommend anyone and everyone to watch it! It's a brilliant story with a brilliant cast but Vanessa easily outshines the rest of the cast, this is her film.
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Great Movie...sad reality
nkiflemar20 January 2014
This movie is quite believable and Hudgens does a great job, having actually lived in a real shelter prior to playing the part. I think she gained a great deal of understanding doing that and it shows in her part. There are some folks reviewing the movie here who referred to her going through "Clinton's Village" subsidized programs, which misses the point of Clinton's Village. Her theory was not based on subsidized govt programs, rather the need for community and all of us to take an interest in helping our neighbors, our schools and to be aware of the folks around us who are either lost or having a tough time. I found that review a slap in the face of the movie and hate to see how you preach in your church as a pastor. Another review mentioned that women and girls should see this. EVERYONE, not least of all MEN should watch this movie. This Wallstreet dad might have behaved differently had he known what his daughter went through until she sought out a better life by finding him. Who knows? Sorry for the rants, but needed to call folks out on some attitudes. perhaps the mother would not have turned to prostitution to survive. Many prostitutes are so desperate to support their kids and it is the only thing they feel they can make it on because of a lack of "Village help" and support of two parents. Then they turn to drugs in order to tolerate the abuse and exploitation of prostitution. It is a vicious cycle and one that mostly affects teen moms and kids with low self-esteem. The system does not sufficiently push dad's role and if more men saw this movie, perhaps they would think twice about abandoning the needs of their children, whether planned or unplanned. I find the sexist attitude of folks so absurd. Take responsibility and stop giving the dads a pass!
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Vanessa Hudgens goes for an Oscar, the breath taking life story of Gimme Shelter
gioprete7929 November 2013
Gimme Shelter is a touching and moving film, so inspirational that I think people will want to buy more and more tickets to see it. Even though a low budget film, Vanessa Hudgens is stunning on her performance as Apple. She proves that she has completely left her amateur puppy Disney HSM acting and moved on to bigger future roles that will certainly give her a lot of career options, maybe an Oscar too. And why not? In Gimme Shelter, Vanessa Hudgens, as an actress, portrays all the emotions and characteristics that the Academy of Arts want to see. I wont be surprised if I see Hudgens taking at least a nomination for her stunning, breath taking performance. Gimme shelter, in general, is an indie film that captures all the phases of a difficult life in the streets of a city. Maybe a little bit of 8 Mile or Precious, Gimme shelter reminds a bit of these films, but the motion picture still keeps its originality of story and of course performances.
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Gimme Shelter is an excellent movie
guraslife30 January 2014
My husband and I went to see Gimme Shelter on opening night. We are happy to say it was more than we were hoping for in the telling of this true story. Through so much hardship, sadness and pain, the beautiful young lady inside Agnes (Apple) emerges when love, respect and hope are offered to her. The performance by Vanessa was outstanding! I didn't know who she was before seeing the movie. The movie drew us right into it! We wanted to reach out and help her! We really like James Earl Jones and were glad to see him play the role of the Catholic priest. We are recommending this movie to everyone we know and plan to go back and see it again as well as buy it on DVD! Thanks to the producer of this excellent movie and to the theaters that are showing it around the country!
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A good and powerful movie with a career making performance by Vanessa Hudgens. I give this a B.
cosmo_tiger28 April 2014
"Maybe you're exactly where you need to be." Apple (Hudgens) is a pregnant teenager who escapes her abusive mother (Dawson) and goes to New Jersey in search of her father. After she finds him things don't go as planned. Neither him or his wife think Apple should have the baby so they bring her to a clinic. Knowing that isn't what she wants Apple runs from there and winds up homeless living on the streets and out of garbage until she is taken to a shelter for young pregnant women. Finding that place changes her entire life. After watching the trailer for this I thought I was prepared for how heavy the movie was gonna be. I wasn't. The movie is hard to watch in some parts and knowing that this is based on a true story makes it that much more powerful. The best part and the reason to watch though is Vanessa Hudgens. She so inhabits this character that you forget it's her. She is in a movie with Rosario Dawson, Brendan Fraser and James Earl Jones and they all struggle to keep up with her. The movie does have the feel of Precious and movies like that so it's not one you can watch over and over but it should be viewed at least once if for no other reason then to see Vanessa Hudgens' performance. Overall, a good and powerful movie with a career making performance by Vanessa Hudgens. I give this a B.
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Pleasantly Surprising Under the Radar Flick
chris-alvarez9031 January 2014
I just saw this with my girlfriend and I was definitely surprised. Didn't expect that out of Vanessa Hudgens. She had me invested in her within minutes. Great performances, great story. Very uplifting and emotional while touching on many societal issues. Refreshing to see there are still films out there that are grounded by real life tragedies that happen in our country every day and being brought to the attention of the people. I was very impressed at what what attempted and achieved with this movie. Didn't feel forced or self-indulgent. It really seemed like the film makers were truly trying to bring to light the stories of woman that go through situations similar to Apple's. And I also read somewhere that they had real women from shelters acting in the film. I personally just think that's so awesome to have people that have struggled in those circumstances be able to come in and help with the story being told. My hats off to the makers of Gimme Shelter. Definitely worth checking out
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well done
coolcleangreen8 January 2014
i was expecting a tear-jerker and i got one.

the movie follows 16yr old Apple on her journey to find hope and peace and she finds it in an unlikely place. Vanessa Hudgens' portrayal of Apple was tender and touching and over-the-top at times but still very moving - and believable. Rosario Dawson appeared in a way i've never seen, not just physically, but so emotionally disturbing i felt a visceral reaction when she was on screen. Brendan Fraser was heartbreakingly good in this. when I thought I would dislike his character, I actually ended up loving him. the rare glimpse of James Earl Jones was like a balm in this emotional whirlwind. everyone played so well.

i went to see this with mom and girlfriends. i recommend it highly for girls' nights out or group bonding of any kind. it is a special film about a special group of people in our world. well done.
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The most terrible poverty is loneliness, and the feeling of being unloved
cjhorstkamp1 February 2014
"Lord, when did we see you hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and didn't help you?" Matthew 25:44

This is a profound film which explores the bonds we share even with those we prefer to ignore. A film which celebrates our common humanity through a story of suffering. It's a gritty, heart-wrenching depiction of how impersonal and uncaring we can be.

The major film studios will not like this film. This is not their product. This is an independent film, part of the new cinematic democracy that threatens their historical control over the industry.

The mainstream movie theaters will not like this film. This is not a popcorn film. Concessions sales may remain flat.

Viewers who prefer light fare will not like this film. It is not a safe film. It's an engaging film that deals with real human truths. It's about fallen men and women who are unloved and unloving. Men who fail to love and protect women. Men who hurt and exploit women. Women who become broken and brutal. Women who become cold and heartless. And it's about people who choose to love.

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11-12

The film has an incredible cast, starring Vanessa Hudgens, Brendan Fraser, James Earl Jones and Rosario Dawson.
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great story, well acted and uplifting
chris-heard26 January 2014
Warning: Spoilers
Gimme Shelter is a refreshing and uplifting story about a pregnant teen who flees her abusive mother and finds friends and support in a shelter for young unwed moms. The story is refreshing because it comes across as sympathetic to the pro-life side, and it actually presents the teen mom's father as a compassionate and decent person. So often Hollywood denigrates dads and redeems the flawed mom, but this movie,to its credit, takes a different and unusual approach. Good performances by Vanessa Hudgens,Brendan Fraser, James Earl Jones, and Ann Dowd really make this movie a satisfying experience. I hope a lot of people see it even though it doesn't take the easy predictable path that's so characteristic of mainstream Hollywood productions.
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great first impression
mysliwya22 January 2014
I have never seen Vanessa before but after watching Gimme Shelter I am a fan. This was a very hard movie to watch all the actors did a great Job on making feel so real. There was not one angle or part where I thought this moving was lacking something. Everyone involved did a great job. I was on the edge of my seat and filled with emotion the whole time. I would say Vanessa is Oscar worthy but really I think she did better then any Oscar winner and its not good enough for her or the movie. The movie grabbed me within the first ten minuets never leaving me with a dull moment. I would like to see more true stories like this and I am looking forward to Vanessa's next film.
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Dramatic, touching, and emotional film. Hudgens' best acting to date.
BklynBryanCM26 January 2014
I saw Gimme Shelter on Jan. 24th (opening day) and it changed me. The film is realistic. Gimme Shelter is a gritty portrayal of a true story. This film will touch you & make you feel humanity. Vanessa Hudgens plays Apple who has lived a very difficult life filled with: sadness, pain, abandonment, abuse, and misery. Growing up she went from foster home to foster home. Rosario Dawson played Apple's sinister/ evil mother. Dawson did an excellent job of portraying a drug addict mother. Brendan Fraser (The Mummy) played Apple's father who works on Wall Street. The powerful message of the film is that sometimes strangers/ friends can feel close like family while your actual family can feel like strangers.

Vanessa Hudgens should win an award for this film.
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Must watch!
ricclang26 January 2014
Warning: Spoilers
I love this movie. Story and acting by the whole cast were superb. You'll never be the same after watching this movie and I can say this only of a handful of movies. It will change your perspective on the reality and the suffering of child abuse, but also it will lift you up and give you a lot of hope in Life. As the end titles were scrolling I found myself "nailed" to my seat, deeply moved, enjoying the beautiful soundtrack by Celine Dion and the pictures of the real protagonists of the story and not wanting to leave.

Go. Watch this movie, it will be the best time and money you will spend today.
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Powerful and emotional journey of faith and hope.
demetriocoffman1 February 2014
Not very often does a movie come out that is as powerful and emotional as this one. This movie reveals the pain, confusion,hopelessness and true brute reality many teens and young women live out today. But also there are organizations with the compassion from the victims to help each other survive the ordeal. The movie reveals that showing the mother a photo of the child in the womb and hearing the heartbeat can help the mother understand that life is important and any cost. This has great acting and is not to be confused with some low budget production. But the showing all angles of the family perspective is very important to understand the whole situation. Showing both parents, new children and wife in the Fathers life. Wanting more government assistance in the abusive mothers life and her physical abuse is also displayed. Don't be afraid to see this truth of life, learn and help out the situation.
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Inspirational True Story Well Worth Watching
guy-3728 January 2014
Last night, I saw a screening of the movie "Gimme Shelter" which releases on the 24th. I highly recommend it. It is a very good inspirational movie of which only immature males wouldn't appreciate it. None the less, it is valuable training for them, even though it is not all action. The subject matter may sound less than interesting, but it was done excellently, morally inspiring and has a happy ending to this true story about a girl who was (or wasn't raised) by a druggie mother and "Clinton's village" of government subsidized foster homes. The acting was superb. The story starts out with the cynical tough-girl jaded pregnant 16 year old runaway finding her biological father and eventually leads to a happy ending, inspiring the audience to be morally upright. Women in the audience cried. Go yourself and take your loved ones. And as a pastor, I do recommend this to children 6 years old and up as a great teaching opportunity for parents. I also recommend "Gimme Shelter" for churches, political groups and action groups.
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Beautiful, inspirational, tear-jerking
piratelver31 January 2014
This film takes you on a journey with Apple and her struggle to find help and rescue when her family is less than loving and supportive. Her tale is heartwarming and grounded in reality. I loved the truth presented in this film and the fact that I could relate to it without ever being in a similar situation as Apple. There is hope and compassion in the world that can be difficult to find, but the film shows that it is possible. The performances were beautiful and engaging. It is hard to watch at times because it really draws you in to this young woman's hardships, but it is a cathartic experience to watch Apple go from the lowest place in her life to a possibility of hope. I would see it again!
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Well-meaning but pedestrian film
Buddy-5115 May 2014
Written and directed by Ronald Krausse, "Gimme Shelter" proves that good intentions and earnestness alone can't guarantee the quality of a film.

The screenplay is based on the true story of a 16-year-old girl who goes by the name Apple (the talented Vanessa Hudgens) whose life could easily have served as the basis for a Dickens novel had it been set a century- and-a-half in the past. Born to an abusive, drug-addicted single mother (an uglied-up Rosario Dawson) who wants her daughter around only for the welfare checks she brings in, Apple has been kicked around from one foster home to the next, when she isn't trying to re-connect with her uber-rich biological father (Brendan Fraser) or living on the streets, that is.

Krausse sure pours on the pathos and the suffering, but the movie as a whole isn't as compelling as it should be, partly because, while there is a certain grittiness in the look and feel of the picture, the episodic nature of the tale doesn't allow for any real development of the secondary characters, leaving them stereotypical and flat. They simply remain off-screen for too long a time to register much of an impact on the audience. Apple's absurdly callous "step-mother" (Stephanie Szostak) and a kindly priest (James Earl Jones), who offers the hand of friendship to Apple in her time of greatest need, feel particularly two-dimensional and under-developed. Moreover, the dialogue frequently undercuts the naturalism of the piece by having the characters spell out in words rather than through indirection and action what it is we're supposed to be taking away with us from the movie.

All those who made "Gimme Shelter" definitely had their hearts in the right place, but I think this is one of those instances where a little less fidelity to the actual story and a little more focus might have resulted in a more effective drama.
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Powerful Movie and Performance by Hudgens
Slasher_Lover237 February 2014
Tired of her life of abuse and constant foster care, Agnes (Vanessa Hudgens) sets out to find a new place to call home. But she soon comes to realize that home is the place where you least expect to find it.

Gimme Shelter is a powerfully emotional film that chronicles the life of a young girl who just wants to find a place where she belongs in the world. We watch as Agnes encounters people from her dark past, to people in her present who may just lead her on the path to salvation. Some of the situations are dark and heart-breaking, but the moments when Agnes finds and feels the love she's been looking for will move you to tears. While many may compare it to the film Precious, Gimme Shelter is based on a true story. The film moves at a quick-pace, but not too quick to where you don't find yourself emotionally evolved in the story and the characters.

While many remember her for role in High School Musical or even most recently for her devilishly trashy performance in Spring Breakers, Vanessa Hudgens gives the performance of her career. It's powerful, heartbreaking, and moving at the same time. Hudgens gets so lost in her role. We really believe her as this lost and broken girl who yearns to be loved. For anyone who doubts that Hudgens can't act (which honestly, I thought this at first), once you see this film you can see the great potential Hudgens inhabits. Very few young actresses could have pulled this role off, but Hudgens nails it through and through and carries the film on her own. In very much supporting roles are Rosario Dawson who gives a dark and pure evil performance as Agnes' drug addicted and abusive mother whom she tries to escape. Dawson really delivers in this role and every time she's on screen you're digested and you absolutely HATE her. Brenden Fraser stars as Agnes' biological and wealthy father. When we first meet his character, Fraser comes off as very bland in the role, but during the course of the film he eases into it more and gives a decent enough performance.

Gimme Shelter is a deep and emotional film that will touch you, and leave you in tears, and full of hope. All of this definitely wouldn't have been possible without the powerhouse performance given by Vanessa Hudgens.

My Rating: 10/10
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westsideschl14 May 2014
Having taught needs category including the following: detention center and alternative schools for juveniles convicted of assault with weapons; homeless dumpster divers; learning & behavioral disorders; severe & profound, I found our girl to be an exaggerated compilation of many problems all made into one person for dramatic effect that I never saw in real life. The overwhelming majority (95+%) of my ss were actually intelligent and for the most part respectful and willing to make some attempts at improvement (yes, a few, at times, would lose it briefly).

The movie showcases the help as being Christian without equal acknowledgement to other beliefs or that none should be promoted as part of help. Helping a person does not mean imposing my value system as an underlying subterfuge within that help. The basics of compassion, respect, tolerance, responsibility are not the province of my religion alone. Evangelizing a specific creed is being dishonest towards that person be they Native Peoples, Jew, Buddhist, Hindi, Muslim, atheist or Christian.
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Juno With God
cultfilmfreaksdotcom1 February 2014
Warning: Spoilers
Most religious films are considered propaganda, and in the past, like thirty, forty years ago, anything against God was highly controversial...

Well times have changed and religion in cinema (regarded positively) is even more controversial than what's become mainstream and fairly common. Either way the "Church agenda template," whether Christian or in this case, Catholic, usually consists of a troubled youth with nowhere to turn finding solace in the last place they'd ever expect.

Enter the main character (seeking "Shelter," part of the Rolling Stones song title never played or mentioned or relevant), an androgynous teenager named Agnes, nicknamed Apple, who, from the very beginning, is up to her neck in trouble – but hardly her own...

Mom is a scummy, yellow-toothed, drugged-out hooker, and with so much screaming commotion there's little time for the viewer to catch their breath when Apple hits the street.

Attempting to bum a ride from a taxi followed by a failed carjacking, she winds up bleeding on the doorstep of an aloof man we eventually learn is her biological father… A multi- millionaire with a house more like a castle where Apple doesn't fit in… Especially after she finds herself pregnant and, choosing against abortion, meets her saving grace in the form of James Earl Jones as Father McCarthy.

Not surprisingly, Jones plays a likable gentle giant with ease, but his chemistry with the troubled teen, beginning with reluctance on her part, is somewhat forced and contrived. In fact Apple's entire situation is so morosely dire and painfully melodramatic, we never get to know the real person behind the tattered clothing.

Meanwhile, Rosario Dawson's villainous mom is quite the heavy but eventually goes way over the top, making Apple's stint at an all girl's home, run by a patient and kindhearted Caucasian Mother Teresa of the American ghetto, the only uplifting aspect of a movie that, in trying too hard to be edgy and raw, pays off with an optimistically saccharine yet surprisingly unpredictable conclusion.
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A Depiction of too many young lives, Excellent work by all!!!
nofyvm-22 May 2014
Initially, I wasn't sure what to expect from this feature... Talk about deeply moved, and emotionally rocked!!! Rosario Dawson was showing some of her finest work, as a drug addict, prostitute, and unfortunately a supposed mother. Then Brendan Fraser playing the father from opposite ends of the spectrum, excellent!!! I had to add a review because I choose a lot of what I watch from reviews that I read on IMDb, including this movie.

What can I say about Vanessa Hudgens? Bravo!!! At points you could just see the flower blooming, with what will be a solid acting career. I was also pleased with the young supporting cast that came in a later stages in the movie.

Go out and rent this movie! Especially if you are a fan of quality, real life drama.
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Heartfelt & Poignant take on the reality facing that of a young pregnant girl.
adam-mulley16 April 2014
Warning: Spoilers
A Poignant piece, with sympathetic insights into both the struggles & consequences of teen pregnancy, on both sides of the scale. The girl and her mother, although finding themselves in the same situation, both handle it very differently. The story focuses on the girl, but it is clear her mother handled it very differently and appears not to care for the girl, simply the money she would gain from the baby, and her daughter living with her. Selfishness is not apparent in the young girl, although trust is clearly an issue.

The film also highlights the value of friendship, and sisterly bond. This is highlighted by the fact the girls father, who at first seems to be torn between his two lives, that of a pre-college mistake with a young woman, who we get to know by the fathers reaction to her, later on in the movie, was similar to her daughter at one stage, with regards to her being very contumacious and having a factious attitude towards everyone. But it is clear the daughter having seen the results of her mothers mistakes, strives to change this, and does not want this for her daughter.

The father was very young and his parents wanted him to go to college, although it is clear he was sad about not being even able to hold his daughter, again due to the mother being stubborn and the pressure to succeed from his parents.

We see his reaction to the mother as almost hesitant, and has to ask her mother if it is her, from his reaction we see her mother was clearly very beautiful and very different.

The movie finishes on a good note. Although her father has bought everything for the child, despite wanting her to abort the child at an earlier stage. He appears to be concerned for her, even his wife, who in one part of the movie, left her in the hospital after the scan, then lied. about it. It is realised early on that the father regrets not being there for her, but at the time he didn't full understand, he mentions not even being able to hold her.

Despite being offered shelter at her fathers house, in the newly built house on the grounds, she has him stop the car, and explains that she felt she had a family at the shelter, with all the other pregnant girls. She heads back on foot, and is greeted with open arms, she tells her father she needs more time, and that she will be a daughter for him someday. She clearly feels she has the support at the shelter, although in real life the shelter would have most like wanted her to leave once her father had claimed her. One thing that may have been incorrect, was the fact that it was acceptable that she should go back with her mother, and that the shelter cannot keep her there until her mother signs. What is strange is the father clearly wanted to help and be a part of her life, why did the shelter not say they needed the bed for another needy mother, due to the fact the father has more than the financial means to help her.
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Interesting, but Ultimately Disappointing
ScarlettHaiku30 April 2014
I went into this movie, expecting a gritty, realistic depiction of overcoming adversity. It didn't disappoint me with the realistic depiction of grittiness. But overcoming adversity? I would have to give that description a big fail.

Vanessa Hudgens was spectacular. She gave an interestingly nuanced performance of a tenacious teen who had absolutely nothing going for her. I haven't really seen her in anything else, so I can't compare her performance to any past work. But suffice to say, I was impressed. Rosario Dawson scared the crap out of me. I'm a huge fan of all her work, but I've got to say this is the first time I've seen her play such a despicable human being. Kudos to her for her performance. Brandon Fraser, who, I might add, has aged as gracefully as a hunk of cheese, was pretty decent too. I have to say he was my favorite character, though he wasn't in the movie that much.

I guess it's the ending that ruined the movie for me. That, and the Christian propaganda. I am a Christian, but even my teeth started to hurt when they were sprouting all the sweet words of love and fellowship and sisterhood. It just didn't work for me. And the ending...well, you'll have to see it for yourself. Suffice to say that it seemed she took one step forward, then took five steps back.
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raynaking018 April 2014
I was very excited to watch this movie. I read a lot of reviews and thought this movie was going to be amazing. It was the exact opposite. Vanessa Hudgens is a horrible actress in this movie. Her fake New York accent is horrendous. The only actress that did a good job was Rosario Dawson. I forced myself to sit through the whole movie hoping it would get better. It didn't. Although it didn't get worse which was the highlight of the movie. I'd give it 0 stars if I could but I can't so I guess 1 will suffice. I wouldn't recommend this movie to anyone. I really don't see how it got so many good reviews on here. It's one of those movies that look really good in the previews but turn out to be a big let down.
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trvlers-7792014 May 2015
Warning: Spoilers
"Gimme Shelter" is a clunkily-made, bat -crazy parable that hammers you over the head with its Christian, anti-abortion message. An after-school special blown up on the big screen, it stridently aims to inspire you. More likely, it'll make you cringe. Vanessa Hudgens does deserve credit, though, for further shedding her Disney Channel packaging. Following increasingly daring roles in films including "Sucker Punch" and "Spring Breakers," Hudgens continues to bludgeon her good-girl image. Here, she plays an abused, pregnant teen who runs away from her volatile, drug-addicted mother (a feral Rosario Dawson). Covered in tats, piercings and 15 pounds of extra body weight, with shorn locks and smudges of dark eyeliner, Hudgens is unrecognizable. Just look at the picture up there: If you didn't know that was the adorably perky star of the "High School Musical" movies, who would you think it was? It's hard not to admire the intention, the dedication, the almost animalistic demeanor she's achieved. But then she opens her mouth, and her stiff line readings of awkward dialog make it impossible to become emotionally engaged by her character's journey. Clearly, writer-director Ronald Krauss means well, too. He spent a great deal of time with real-life pregnant teens in hopes of infusing his film with a feeling of authenticity. But the total lack of artistry, nuance and sometimes even basic competence is so distracting as to be destructive. He's also preaching to the choir — sometimes literally, given the crucial role the church has in his film. "Gimme Shelter" finds no room for debate; it reaffirms what like- minded viewers already believe about a divisive and emotional topic. In that regard, it actually does a disservice to young women who might find themselves in the same difficult state. At the film's start, Hudgens' Agnes Bailey — who prefers to be called Apple — dares to flee the clutches of her junkie, welfare-leeching mom to find the biological father she never knew. Turns out that the man who fathered her in a youthful fit of unprotected sex, Tom Fitzpatrick (Brendan Fraser), is now a wealthy Wall Street financier living in a McMansion in leafy New Jersey. His prim, thin wife (Stephanie Szostak) and their two perfect children are appalled at the sight of her gruff and grimy appearance. But soon, it become obvious that Apple is pregnant (although the identity of the father and the circumstances surrounding her conception are strangely irrelevant here). While the uptight stepmom makes the logical suggestion that perhaps Apple is not prepared to become a mother under these circumstances at age 16, Apple has made up her mind — she's keeping her baby — likely out of an innate sense of rebellion rather than any maternal instinct. Tom and his wife are depicted as moneyed, distant and soulless for arranging an appointment for her at a local clinic (no one actually says the word "abortion," by the way) but it doesn't matter. Once again, Apple dashes back out onto the streets, alone. Eventually, she ends up crossing paths with a kindly but firm priest played by James Earl Jones. When James Earl Jones tells you to go to church, you go to church. When James Earl Jones tells you to pray, you pray. And when he arranges a bed for you a nearby shelter for pregnant teens, that's clearly where you must go. While Apple is at the core of "Gimme Shelter," the fundamental story is about Kathy DiFiore, the real-life shelter founder who was once homeless herself. (She's played by Ann Dowd, who gave such a startling performance as a fast-food manager in "Compliance." Now THERE'S a film that sparks debate.) Apple's interactions with the other young mothers at DiFiore's home — which is cluttered with photographs of Ronald Reagan and Mother Teresa and posters of inspirational religious messages — feel uncomfortably forced. Her eventual softening into a proper young lady — complete with flowered sundresses, cardigan sweaters and clean, pretty air — comes out of nowhere. And the stunning 180-degree turn on the part of key characters (that's not really a spoiler now, is it?) is thoroughly unconvincing. The emotional catharsis the film strives for is unearned, rendering its ultimate uplift not just hollow but laughable.
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Much better than its current rating on IMDb would suggest.
MartinHafer22 April 2014
"Gimme Shelter" is not an especially easy movie to watch nor is it fun in any way. After all, the main character, Apple (Vanessa Hudgens) is a teen that's been through it all—physical abuse, sexual abuse, repeated foster homes and a mother with less maternal instincts than a rabid hamster. And, to make it even worse, she's pregnant! One thing is for sure, she cannot stay with her vicious mother (Rosario Dawson)—so the film begins with her running away in search of her father (Brendan Fraser). The problem is that her father has never met her—and his new life is very ordered and his wife isn't especially interested in becoming step-mom to a tattooed, pierced and angry young mother-to-be. So, after an abortive stay with her dad and his family, Apple feels compelled to leave—living on the streets and hoping that somehow it will all work out for the best.

Eventually, this unwanted young lady ends up coming in contact with an old priest (James Earl Jones) and he wants to help. He knows of a home for pregnant teens and convinces her to give it a try. This is no small task, as Apple has learned over her short life that you really cannot trust anyone. While the place turns out to be pretty nice, Apple just cannot accept that anyone could help her without some sort of agenda and you wonder if she'll stay put and have her baby there or, perhaps, on some street corner. Her first instinct is to just run.

I really had to admire the script for "Gimme Shelter", as it manages to seem a lot truer than most stories about troubled teens. Missing are many of the clichés you might think would be and the film can be favorably compared to another great film about a troubled teen, "Precious". And, as a retired social worker and psychotherapist, I have worked on a lot of cases that were similar to this one and it comes off as believable and compelling. It's not always pleasant viewing but it is a high quality film—one you have to see to appreciate.

In addition to a dandy script, what really impressed me was the acting. While Hudgens is in her mid-20s, she managed to pull off a convincing portrait of a scared and almost animalistic teen—and is a much meatier role than she's usually known for doing. Dawson is also a standout. While she was only in the film here and there, she managed to play an incredibly nasty character with great zest and was very convincing. For both roles, both actresses had to make themselves as non-glamorous as possible in order to be true to their characters. Additionally, Fraser's role is a lot more interesting and compelling compared to other roles he's taken such as "George of the Jungle" and "Furry Vengeance" (uggh!).

"Gimme Shelter" is not always pleasant, but it is a film well worth your time. It's also a film well worth seeing with your teen, as the film has a lot you and your kids could talk about when it's complete. Overall, there's really nothing I didn't like about this film—I just don't know if such an earthy and not always pleasant theme will attract many viewers. I sure know it deserves a chance.
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