18 May 2015

Movie Review: "Gimme Shelter"

Rated: PG-13 for mature thematic material involving mistreatment, some drug content, violence, and language, all concerning teens
Starring: Vanessa Hudgens, Rosario Dawson, Brendan Fraser, and James Earl Jones
Released: January 24, 2014
Synopsis: In an attempt to escape her abusive mother (Rosario Dawson), Apple Bailey (Vanessa Hudgens, High School Musical) flees from her home to find her biological father (Brendan Fraser, George of the Jungle) whom she has never met before.  She soon finds out she is pregnant, and her father's wife wants her to abort the baby...but Apple doesn't want to do that.  Homeless, and with nowhere to go, Apple finds a friend in a hospital chaplain (screen legend James Earl Jones).  With his help, she discovers the true meaning of family.
Based on a true story.

The Good: First off, the performances in this film are amazing.  Vanessa Hudgens does a wonderful job in a role that's much different than Gabriella, her best-known role, and Brendan Fraser also deserves major kudos.  This movie may be based on a true story, but the story arc is so compelling, it feels like a thrilling novel.  The theme of overcoming adversity is great, and the fact that the film is pro-life and portrays the Christian faith in a positive light is awesome.

The Bad: Despite the fact that this movie features a Disney Channel star, it's not for kids.  Between the profanity, the themes of teenage pregnancy and illegitimate children, the sexual remarks, and the rather intense violence, this one is rated "PG-13" for a reason.  Also, the soundtrack featured some annoying music.

Content Concerns:
  • Sex: The whole movie revolves around unwed pregnancies.  A guy tries to hit on a teenage girl, but she fends him off.  A girl is referred to by her mother as a "slut" and a "whore". 2/5
  • Nudity: Some cleavage, and a guy is seen shirtless. 4/5
  • Language: The b-word is used twice; the h-word, a-word, and d-word are used once each.  God's name is misused once or twice, and the milder term "crap" is used once.  Some name-calling is also present. 3/5
  • Violence: Some fights here and there, including one where a woman attacks a pregnant teenager with a razor with bloody results.  A car accident leads to someone entering the hospital. 3/5
  • Drugs: Beer is consumed, characters smoke, and drug abuse is referenced. 3/5
  • Frightening/Intense Scenes: Along with the violence, Apple's mother is rather scary; she is intentionally hideous, with garishly yellow teeth and a horrible demeanor.  There is also plenty of emotional intensity. 2/5
Conclusion: In the style of Touched By an Angel, though without the otherworldly beings, Gimme Shelter is a morality play that doesn't shy away from showing the hard edge of reality.  For some discerning viewers, this may be too much, but I enjoyed this one quite a bit.  If you're tired of saccharine sweet Christian films, this one is definitely worth a try.

Score: 4/5

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