Gimme Shelter is based on the true story of a pregnant teenager trying to escape her past and her abusive, drug-addled mother (Rosario Dawson), attempting to reconnect with a father she never really knew (Brendan Fraser) and instead discovering the true meaning of family.
Vanessa Hudgens plays Agnes "Apple" Bailey, a 16-year-old from New Jersey who runs away from her abusive mother. She flees to try and find a better a life (or so she thinks) with her biological father. After being turned away, she wrecks a pimp's car and ends up in the hospital where the hospital chaplain guides her to shelter that takes in young pregnant mothers. The movie feels as though it is meant to be Vanessa Hudgens' chance to show that she can do the serious role. She does a very good job, in fact the whole cast was excellent in this movie, but the scene stealer is Rosario Dawson. She doesn't have the most time on screen, but when she does she is just "WOW!" Sadly, I don't think she'll get noticed come award season. She really makes you hate her and feel sorry for her at the same time. Brendan Fraser seems to have become the "serviceable" actor. He plays his part well, but there isn't a deep well of emotion coming from him. James Earl Jones' role as the Chaplain is good, but just like Brendan Fraser, his facial expressions never really change.
Ron Krauss' script and the quality of the film feel more like an independent Lifetime movie than an independent theatrical feature film. You know from the very beginning how this movie is going to end. Even if this isn't a true story, you know exactly what's going to happen. You know what the outcome of Agnes' mother is going to be. I don't think that Krauss really had much to go with.
I feel that I should put a disclaimer notice here. This is not a movie that I would rush out to see unless dragged there by a girl. I overheard women, and a few men, leaving the theater saying how they were touched and moved by the movie, and I lelt thinking that this could have been much better viewed at home with a significant other who really owes you.
The movie is a valiant effort. You can see that everyone involved is really trying to do their best work, but it falls short. That being said, it falls short as a feature film, but as a movie that you can watch on-demand or on iTunes (however you watch your movies at home), it would be okay if you like that 2 in the afternoon Lifetime-esque movie.