Raw, real, gritty, tough, heart-breaking, inspirational.
These are all words I would use to describe the new movie “Gimme Shelter” coming out this Friday, January 24th.
Here’s the basic outline for the movie:
Based on the inspiring true events, GIMME SHELTER centers on the courageous story of Agnes “Apple” Bailey (Vanessa Hudgens) and her incredible path to motherhood as a pregnant, homeless teenager. Forced to flee her abusive mother (Rosario Dawson), and turned away by her Wall Street father (Brendan Fraser), Apple finds herself on a desperate and isolated journey of survival. In the depths of despair, she meets a compassionate stranger (James Earl Jones), who ultimately leads her to salvation and unprecedented support in a suburban shelter for homeless teenagers. With gained confidence, and the warmth of her new home, Apple breaks from her inhibiting past, embracing the future with clarity and hope.
The movie is rated PG-13 for good reason. I watched it with my 15 year-old, and she handled it fine, but I know my super tender-hearted 14 year-old would not.
“Gimme Shelter” starts out with its main character in a horrible situation, and for a while it only goes from worse to even more worse. There is no sugar-coating here.
But as difficult as it is, there are very good reasons to watch this movie
- It reminds us that we (wrongly) make sweeping assumptions about people based on how they look, the actions they take, and the situations in which they are embroiled.
- Apple asks the hard questions which would behoove us to spend time thinking through–questions like, “Where was God when I was being abused?!?” And, she makes statements that challenge us to get involved: “I’m done with being passed off as someone’s case number. I want out of the system!” (Interestingly enough, my friend Aurie just wrote about the need for people to help. Please go read it.)
- It is based on true stories which the director discovered while actually living in a shelter for homeless, pregnant teenagers. The “house mom” in the movie is based on a real person who has an incredible story of her own. Kathy DiFiore was homeless herself at one point and after getting back on her feet, she founded Several Sources Shelters, the inspiration behind the shelter depicted in the movie.
“Gimme Shelter” has an excellent cast who, in my opinion, does a tremendous job of portraying their characters. It is a somewhat slower-moving story, at times resembling a documentary, but compelling nonetheless. I found myself with tears in my eyes more than once.
Again, the movie opens Friday, January 24th, but I would recommend caution in letting your kids see it. It’s not really a “family movie night” feature. For older teens and adults, however, I would say it is truly a good one.