Gimme Shelter Movie Review
Another Disney Princess continues to rebel against her past in Gimme Shelter, a touching though ordinary drama about a teenage runaway who seeks refuge after discovering she is pregnant. The movie stars Vanessa Hudgens, Brendan Fraser and Rosario Dawson and is inspired by a true story.
Ron Krauss writes and directs the movie, a passion project if there ever was one. Krauss spent considerable time living in one of the women's shelters upon which the film is based, and has developed a partnership with the shelters' founder Kathy DiFiore, who is characterized in the film (and played by Ann Dowd).
Hudgens delivers the best performance of her career as Apple, though her bikini-clad gig in Spring Breakers was more memorable. But I digress. Hudgens is barely recognizable in her new role, with cropped hair, boy clothes and a bitter attitude after living life on the streets. She has done a good job of shedding her former Disney image, and Gimme Shelter is another step in that evolution.
The most memorable performance of the movie belongs to Rosario Dawson, however. Even though her character is one-dimensionally wicked, she too is nearly unrecognizable in her role. Sadly, her most vicious act in the movie (one you will not forget) is based on a real incident.
As for the movie itself, Gimme Shelter is one of those films that is perfectly decent to watch but unfortunately doesn't have a lot of lasting power. The story is powerful in theory but not as emotional as intended. If I were to compare it to another production, the first that comes to mind is the Oscar-nominated Precious; Gimme Shelter is less melodramatic and more realistic, but it lacks strong, developed characters like that one did. With exception to Apple, the movie doesn't offer much in the way of a supporting cast of characters; curious, considering the ultimate purpose of the movie is to show there is a community out there for pregnant women in need.
Again, Gimme Shelter is an okay drama featuring a fine performance by Vanessa Hudgens; but it's fairly straight laced and struggles to make an emotional connection with the audience.
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Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.