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. (Roadside Attractions)
Vanessa Hudgens, as Apple Baily, is unrecognizable from her role in High School Musical. She lived in pregnancy shelters for weeks to prepare for this role. She hits the mark on many scenes. Hudgens' fans will be blown away.
Rosario Dawson, as June Baily, is rough and scary, as you would expect an abusive mother to be. The opening scene when Apple is fleeing from her mother, June Bailey, is intense and that tension returns when June comes looking for Apple who refuses to return with her. The scenes with the two of them are the more powerful scenes in the movie.
James Earl Jones plays Frank McCarthy, the pastor who leads Apple to the shelter for pregnant teens and helps to set her on a healthy path to be able to deliver her baby.
Brandon Frasier plays Tom Fitzpatrick, Apple's biological father, in whom she seeks support but is turned away when he and his wife learn she is pregnant and wants to keep her baby.
GIMME SHELTER delivers the moral story of a pregnant, homeless teenager who struggles but finds her way to responsibly keep her baby. She also gets a second chance at life. With the main character's situation full of tragedy and dispair, I was still looking for more depth in the other supporting characters but the storyline seems to move too quickly. Overall, with such a great cast, there seems to be missing dynamics that would make this movie even more powerful.
The audience will also be faced with their own opinions and convictions about pro-life and pro-choice. Watching the storyline unfold about this very controversial topic does put the movie in more of an 'after school special' category. Adding that factor in to the movie also makes it challenging to appeal to all audiences. That's not an easy topic to address in a major film. It may serve well as a conversation starter for teen pregnancy.
GIMME SHELTER is in theaters January 24, 2014. Follow them on Facebook and Twitter.