'Gimme Shelter' not clear about where its heart is
“Gimme Shelter” is a simplistic, faintly emotional account of a pregnant teen's desperate search for help, support and compassion with the huge decision she faces.
Agnes (Vanessa Hudgens) is 16 and poor, the daughter of a drug addict (Rosario Dawson). Agnes, who decides she wants to be called “Apple,” is all piercings, ill-fitting dirty clothes and tattoos. And if she needs a case study in how life can go wrong by having a baby at that tender age, she can look at mom — a raging, staggering, yellow-toothed horror in her early 30s.
But Apple, with no more warning than an “I'm out,” runs away — fist-fighting her mother to get through the door. With just a little cash, the clothes on her back and a crumpled old envelope with an address on it, she sets out in search of the father she's never met.
There are misadventures along the way — sleeping in a car she breaks into, threats from a pimp, a car crash, an arrest. Her affluent, suburban dad (Brendan Fraser) has two kids, a gorgeous French wife (Stephanie Szostak) and enough guilt to take her in. But the wife won't stand for it.
Hudgens seems to revel in playing Apple, a hostile, ill-mannered and impulsive “every teen.”
Where can she go, who is left to turn to? Her mother, wanting that extra welfare check, is tracking her down. As street-savvy as this sullen, standoffish girl is, she's in way over her head.
A priest (James Earl Jones) and a shelter run by the understanding, but no-nonsense, Kathy (Ann Dowd of “Side Effects” and “Compliance”) offer Apple sanctuary.
Writer-director Ron Krauss attracted a good cast, and Hudgens, hell-bent on leaving her Disney “High School Musical” image behind, dives into the street language and angry, downcast look of a defiant girl.
A better film would have made more of the dilemmas, been more honest with the many dead ends facing Apple. This shelter doesn't seem to do much other than house pregnant girls — no schooling, vocational training, state assistance.
It's the sort of movie whose finale leaves you wondering, “Why do they always leave out what happens next?”
Roger Moore is a staff writer for McClatchy-Tribune News Service.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Steelers notebook: Tomlin says Latrobe session won’t differ from normal practice
- Pirates acquire Soria from Tigers
- Police search for missing 7-year-old
- Pirates notebook: Blanton introduced, Worley designated for assignment
- Police: Escaped Armstrong County inmate armed dangerous homicide suspect
- Starkey: Garoppolo baffles Steelers
- China says U.S. trying to militarize South China Sea
- Obama nominates 3 judges for federal bench in Pittsburgh
- Pirates acquire pitcher Blanton from Royals for cash
- Connellsville man arrested for firing handgun in city’s East Park
- Peduto blasts Wolf’s plan to borrow $3B to shore up pensions