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Take Shelter (2011)

Trailer
2:07 | Trailer
Plagued by a series of apocalyptic visions, a young husband and father questions whether to shelter his family from a coming storm, or from himself.

Director:

Jeff Nichols

Writer:

Jeff Nichols
Reviews
Popularity
3,902 ( 14)
42 wins & 46 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Michael Shannon ... Curtis
Jessica Chastain ... Samantha
Tova Stewart ... Hannah LaForche
Shea Whigham ... Dewart
Katy Mixon ... Nat
Natasha Randall Natasha Randall ... Cammie
Ron Kennard Ron Kennard ... Russell
Scott Knisley Scott Knisley ... Lewis
Robert Longstreet ... Jim
Heather Caldwell ... Special Ed Teacher
Sheila Hullihen Sheila Hullihen ... Woman in Road
John Kloock John Kloock ... Man in Road
Marianna Alacchi ... Bargain Hunter
Jacque Jovic Jacque Jovic ... News Anchor
Bob Maines Bob Maines ... Walter Jacobs
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Storyline

Curtis, a father and husband, is starting to experience bad dreams and hallucinations. Assuming mental illness, he seeks medical help and counseling. However, fearing the worst, he starts building an elaborate and expensive storm shelter in their backyard. This storm shelter threatens to tear apart his family, threatens his sanity and his standing in the community, but he builds it to save his family's life. Written by napierslogs

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Far away from the cruel world. [Scandinavian DVD.]

Genres:

Drama | Horror | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Jeff Nichols and Michael Shannon second film together. See more »

Goofs

When Curtis has his seizure, the time on the nightstand clock changes from 2:23 to 2:30, and then back to 2:28 (which then changes to 2:29 on camera). See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Curtis: [to daughter] No, no, no. Don't feed the dog, darling.
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Connections

Featured in The Big Picture: November 2011 (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

Shelter
Written & Performed by Ben Nichols
Copyright 2010 Empty Roard Music (ASCAP)
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User Reviews

 
Challenging but supremely suspenseful character-driven drama
3 November 2011 | by Movie_Muse_ReviewsSee all my reviews

When done right, few tales are more riveting than a person's descent into madness. Alfred Hitchcock proved this time and time again and Jeff Nichols reinforces it in "Take Shelter," a film likely to have been lauded by the master of suspense himself. Anchored by the performances of Michael Shannon and Jessica Chastain, "Shelter" broods and festers but ultimately thrives on the brink between buildup and utter chaos.

Shannon, far from a household name but a favorite of cinephiles since his head-turning supporting role in "Revolutionary Road," stars as Curtis, a construction worker and father living in a rural town with his wife, Sam (Chastain), and their young daughter, Hannah (Tova Stewart). Their daughter has developed extreme hearing loss and Curtis' job provides them the benefits necessary to afford cochlear implants, but Curtis' recent slew of horrifically real nightmares seems to be the real issue here.

In his dreams, Curtis experiences premonitions of a near-apocalyptic storm that includes odd bird flight formations, motor-oil-like rain, and twisters, and appears to make everyone that shows up in his dreams eerily violent from his dog to complete strangers. The resulting paranoia and occasional physical side affects leads Curtis to seek medical attention, but also to start renovating the storm cellar in his backyard should his visions come true.

The question of whether Curtis is a prophet of sorts or just mentally disturbed drives the film — not much else does. Nichols tells this story largely through a series of character snapshots depicting Curtis riding the ups and downs caused by these nightmares. A few key moments boil the story to a point, namely a riveting scene when Curtis loses it a social luncheon, but the pensive script withholds from us straight through the end like a well-trained indie film.

As we go deeper and deeper with Curtis — and eventually Samantha and Curtis' best friend/co-worker Dewart (Shea Whigham) — we do learn some key details about Curtis' medical history that shed light on the situation, but even in the midst of fact, Nichols never gives us the satisfaction of arriving at any concrete conclusion about his predicament.

With the weight of an immensely introverted character dealing with a mental struggle placed squarely on his shoulders, Shannon proves why you'll only see him with more and more frequency in the future. He makes sure we care about what happens to Curtis, but beyond that he slips back and forth between deserving sympathy and deserving skepticism. He is not simply some Jobian character to whom bad things are happening, and this makes his challenge all the more challenging for the viewer. Credit as well to Nichols for crafting a protagonist far from the norm.

The winner of 2011′s most ubiquitous actress award, Chastain, gets the more alpha-type role instead. She's the good-hearted, open and loving type driven entirely by logic and unafraid of confrontation. Many will identify more with Samantha as a result, which adds a layer of complexity to the film to say the least.

"Take Shelter" offers compelling character-driven suspense, though at times it will try your patience. If you can chalk that up to quintessential indie filmmaking, then by all means do and enjoy this complex and challenging character portrait all the more for it. However, the real thrill of this type of film is that at any moment the bottom might drop out on the entire story (aka the $%&+ might hit the proverbial tornado); the difference between liking that and loving it is accepting when it doesn't.

~Steven C

Check out my site, moviemusereviews.com


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Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook | Official site | See more »

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

10 November 2011 (Croatia) See more »

Also Known As:

Take Shelter See more »

Filming Locations:

Oberlin, Ohio, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$5,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$52,041, 2 October 2011

Gross USA:

$1,730,296

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$3,741,098
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital | SDDS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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